Gann Robotics: The Hardest Fun You’ll Ever Have

February 14, 2017
Gann recently won the Battle of Lexington. And not the Revolutionary War one.

Gann’s Robots and Brain Bots, Inc. team (R.A.B.B.I.) took home first place honors in January’s qualifying match, the Battle of Lexington. As a result, the group is now heading to the state championship in March.  A second Gann robotics team will also vie for the state crown.
“Robotics is a student-driven activity,” says team leader Eitan Galper, a senior who knew nothing about coding or engineering when he joined robotics as a freshman. “We design and build the robots ourselves, then redesign them and rebuild as the season goes on. We also create all of our game strategies for competitions. Because of robotics, I’m going to study engineering in college.” On a recent Sunday, Gann hosted a very successful qualifying meet, with Gann students setting up and dismantling the event, inspecting robots and staffing a robot help desk. Galper and another Gann student emceed the contest as well.

Robotics as a high school sport is all about solving real-life engineering challenges. At competitions, teams use joysticks to control their robots. Points accumulate as robots accomplish tasks like hoisting a giant ball on to a structure in the arena.

During the six-month season, team members also acquire business skills such as budgeting, fundraising and marketing.  “Gann robotics has a very strong social component as well,” says Heather Lambert, Gann's Robotics Coach. “The kids really like hanging out with each other.” And they learn a lot about resilience, she adds. “At a qualifying competition, one of our robots was giving its team a lot of trouble. The kids’ response was to immediately start problem-solving for the next competition.”
 
 “My favorite part of robotics is how at the beginning of the year we brainstorm our ideas— writing on a white board and in our engineering notebook,” explains Galper. “Then a few months later we’re working on a robot that looks similar to what we imagined. It’s great to watch it go from an idea to a functioning robot.”

Competition held at Gann Academy
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