Robo Take Over in Immanuel


The kids use coding on computers to control their own bots to do simple tasks

Liam Carr , Editor-In-Chief

About one year ago, two Immanuel Lutheran Christian Academy teachers went to a Sea Perch convention. Sea Perch is a program that uses science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) so that teachers and students can remotely control vehicles underwater. Soon afterwards Ms. Shawn Griffith and Ms. Jordyn Kleinburg had an idea to bring robotics to ILCA.

“We toyed with different formats of what we should use and we were afraid we wouldn’t have enough students so we decided to open it up (Robotics Club) to K through 12,” Ms. Griffith said.

The first day the club opened, they had twenty kindergarten through second graders, twenty third and fourth graders, and three middle school and high school students. They did not plan for such little turnout for the middle and high school students and such a large group of elementary kids.

“It changed the dynamics of the club greatly,” Ms. Griffith said.

They planned the club to be for middle school and older students, but then the club’s leaders had to make it suitable to younger children. Griffith acquired special robotic kits that are specifically for third and fourth graders. They range from robotic arms to a robotic spider. The club soon met some conflict in the second semester.

“Because we had only middle school students who wanted to be in robotics for the most part, they weren’t able to meet on Wednesdays second semester because of the academic team,” Ms. Griffith said.

Ms. Griffith is looking forward to the next school year. She is planning for the middle students to go and compete in a Sea Perch robotics competition.  

The STEM and Robotics club is split up each week. Half of the club uses STEM to build bridges or make slime,  The other half uses the robots that Mrs. Griffith “rents” while the other half uses coding to bring their robots to life.

“I say rent, (because) we don’t have to pay for them; its like checking out a book from the library,” Ms. Griffith explained.

She plans to check out another group of robots at the end of April for the club. The club meets every Wednesday after school unless it is an early release day. Her plans for next year involve what they can do to increase involvement from the middle and high schoolers.  

Some high school students are hoping for other clubs to start at Immanuel. They range from book clubs and sewing clubs, to a more unique clubs such as a pottery club or an interpretive dance club.

In order for a club to start a teacher needs to be willing to sponsor the club. A parent or parents can then help with the club. Then the club needs to have a time and date that do not conflict with other activities. The robotics club has a foreseeable future that is very promising for the members and the ILCA community. With the possibility of more clubs growing at Immanuel the future looks bright.