No robots. No sponsor. NO MONEY! Not quite the foundation needed for a successful Robotics Club, but that’s how the group functioned at Seaman High School for the past couple years. The interest level has always been high in the school with kids eager to tinker with programming and hone engineering skills. “In 2014, the club worked on some electronic kits but they didn’t have any robots so it could hardly be called a robotics club,” said new club sponsor Don Koon.
This past summer, the future of the robotics club started looking a little brighter thanks to SHS Senior Geordan Shaffer. Geordan worked in an independent study class last year and his project was to fund the robotics club. “I knew the club was never able to do very much, so I helped to get grants to pay for supplies,” said Geordan. “Mr. Koon volunteered to sponsor the club which helped especially since our last sponsor left after my sophomore year. With this new funding, we’ll actually be able to build robots--instead of standing around for an hour saying how cool it would be to build robots.”
Seaman High School was one of 11 Kansas-area schools that received funding from the 2016 Cox Charities Innovation in Education grant program. The school received a grant in the amount of $5,851 to buy six clawbot kits and the software needed to program their bots.
“Being a member of the robotics club helps students develop many of the ‘soft skills’ that are harder to teach such as problem-solving, teamwork, creativity while increasing their technical knowledge,“ said Koon. It has been interesting to see the students work together with people they have only known a couple weeks as they team up to build the robot and learn to control it.” With almost 40 students signing up for the club, the school is now looking into the possibility of adding robotics as a class in the near future. The club is also hoping to hold area competitions so area robotics clubs could come together and compete. “I know that this is my last year at SHS, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the students and teachers carry on the Robotics Club after I graduate,” said Geordan.