Uplands Robotics Club

               Founder & President 2015 - 2017

 

When I was in the 10th grade, I felt that the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subject areas were underrepresented in my school. We had debate clubs, sci-fi clubs and many sports clubs. However, we had no extra curricular activities for robotics nor programming for that matter.

In late 2015, I decided that I wanted to start the Uplands Robotics Club to provide an opportunity for students to get involved in programming and electronics related activities. I had an image in my mind of what I aspired this club to be…

Initially, the club was meant to be a group of programming & robotics enthusiasts who enter national competitions or work on group projects. It took me a while to realize that this would not be realistic simply due to the fact that nearly no one else in the school had been exposed to robotics or programming at a level further than “basic block coding” (such as those used by scratch and lego mindstorms).

I decided that in order to develop an interest within the school for robotics and programming, the students needed an opportunity to learn more about the subject matter. Thus, I made the club into a course for students to learn the basics of hardware programming.

I started teaching the basics of the Arduino microcontroller and gave an introduction to the C programming classes during the first year, and went into more “advanced” robotics in the second year (unless you were a new member [in which case you would need to start with the basics]). During the 2 years since I founded the club, we enjoyed a comfortable club size between 10 – 15 students.

I felt that students learned best from experimentation rather than simply reading a book or mindlessly copying code (based on my personal experience). Each lesson I would introduce various concepts and programming fundamentals. I then provided an exemplar code for reference and the students would make their own code and try to include the application of various components as well. For instance, on one of the first lessons, I taught them how to make simple output declarations using LEDs. They went on to make their own mesmerizing patterns with the LEDs. One of them even made a morse code interface using short and long LED timings based on the serial monitor input!

Bellow is an extract from my school’s yearbook, where our club was given an entire page to use:

scan-10-e1528193963360.jpeg

 

The values of the club have been encompassed by next leader of the school’s robotics club, Daniel Giam.

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