#1StudentNWI: Washington Township’s Robotics Club is geared for success

#1StudentNWI: Washington Township’s Robotics Club is geared for success

Whether it is coding or building, students in the Washington Township High School Robotics Club have shown great progress this school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Washington Township Robotics Club consists of 12 intelligent students who have an interest in engineering. While Washington Township does offer amazing engineering classes, the Robotics Club allows for more advanced practice of the skills these young engineers will use in the future.

In previous years, the students practiced their robotics skills before and after school. Because of the current implications with COVID-19, the students were forced to spend more time working at home with limited time during school. However, this unfortunate occurrence did not alter the brains or determination of the students in robotics.

Todd Hutson, who has been running the robotics club for three years, and his students were forced to get creative with the robot competitions this year. They created cone stacking competitions, hallway races, and drone tests, all of which allowed for the students to compete in a safe, socially-distanced manner.

“This year was very different. The students used to help each other with their projects, but with the pandemic, students were forced to be more independent with their builds,” said Hutson.

While the process of reworking the club in order to fit new health standards was painstaking, it overall benefitted the students greatly. The students learned to work together while physically being apart. They also learned their strengths and weaknesses when it came to the engineering they were doing by themselves.

“One of the best competitions that we created is the Cone Competition. The students each design their own robots and are assigned to compete with another teammate,” Hutson said. “The duos use remote-controlled robots that they have built to try and stack as many cones as possible within a set time frame. Each cone is worth a certain amount of points, and the team with the most points wins!”

“This competition allows for the students to work together while being far apart. It also allows them to experience the competitiveness that the previous robotics clubs had,” Hutson said.

The students who participate in the club have all excelled greatly. They have learned how to take a common part and make it into something extraordinary. One of the students, Asher Vander Woude, explained why robotics was so enjoyable for everyone in the club.

“I can build what I want, how I want it, and then compete with my friends and their robots. It is super fun to try and build the best robot during the competitions. Racing down the hallways, adding LEDs, and flying drones makes being in robotics worth it, even during a pandemic,” said Vander Woude.

The robots are not only fun to watch for the students in the club, but the competitions can also be viewed by other students during the study hall hour at Washington Township. Students who are not working on other work will come down to the robotics room to watch the tiny robots battle against each other. 

Robot competitions may be small, but the students at Washington Township all enjoy the entertainment during the final hour of the school day. 

The robotics students are currently preparing their projects for the robot race at the end of the week. All of the students are working hard to design a fast robot that can zip down the hallways faster than their peers. 

Thankfully, the hard work of these students does not go unnoticed. Hutson is proud of the work that they have put into their robots and how hard they try to improve.

“We could not have a robotics club without the students. They all put in effort to build on their own time and I could not thank them enough for their interests in robotics,” said Hutson.