In partnership with the Milwaukee School of Engineering, students from Milwaukee Scholars began participating in after-school STEM clubs as part of the school’s ongoing enrichment program.
The clubs were split into two groups, the First Lego League group that consisted of 20 third- through fourth-grade students, and the Robotics League group that included 12 seventh- through eighth-grade students.
Both groups met twice a week for an hour and a half session. The STEM Club started in March and ended at the end of May. During their club meetings, the scholars learned how to build robots, code programs, and create obstacle courses.
“This was a launch program to set up teams for the beginning of next school year to participate in competitions,” said Kristen Zuehlke, middle school teacher at Milwaukee Scholars. “Each year there is a new theme for the programs and scholars create the coding to achieve certain challenges.”
The competition categories include the First Lego League and the First Tech League. The First Lego League requires scholars to design, build, test, and program robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology.
During the competition, the robot will be set up on a table to navigate around obstacles and complete tasks using the programming that the students enter for the various missions. In the First Tech League competition, the scholars will be challenged to design, build, program, and operate their robots to compete in different challenges.
The robots that the students coded use Java-based programming and are operated using an Xbox remote control and cell phones. The scholars move the robot around the obstacles and control an arm to pick up items along the way.