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Technology Education Students Learn Robotics

Students in Lynn Zajac’s 7th Grade Technology Education classes at Roxboro Road Middle School have four major projects during their half-year course at the school. Technology Education courses have long been known for providing students the opportunity to BUILD things. For their current assignment though, students in Lynn’s class are being graded on how well they DEMOLISH structures.
Lynn’s students are working on the second part of a unit on robotics, their final one in their Technology Education course. During part one of the robotics unit, students did in fact work in pairs to build something – their own robot vehicles. That was last week’s lesson. This week, the students are tasked with programming their robots to knock down sets of strategically placed sets of blocks. The assignment directs students to create an implement a computer program sending the robots back and forth over a “playing field” to eliminate the blocks from the table within a set amount of time. In addition to accomplishing this task, students must use their Chromebooks to record the feat.
Lynn, who has worked as a technology education teacher in the North Syracuse Central School District for the past 25 years, says that the course is designed to teach students 21st century problem solving skills. “Technology Education is all about using math and science to solve problems, but it is so much more,” Zajac said. “It is fun to watch them become engineers. As engineer's they learn not only design and construction techniques but also complex scientific principles like angular momentum.”