October 28, 2011: "Scenes from Schools" is an occasional piece on the CCSA News Blog that offers a glimpse at the tremendous work taking place on charter school campuses across California. Today's "Scenes," about SIATech Sacramento's Robotics Team presenting their advanced robots at the California State Fair, was written by Thomas Mays, an instructor at the school.
During the final week of the California State Fair at Cal Expo in Sacramento, three students from SIATech Sacramento - Johnny Campbell, Nicholas Goodwin and Charles Vann - and students from the Treasure Island Job Corps campus had the opportunity to demonstrate innovative robots and technology used as part of SIATech Sacramento's Robotics team.
Students designed, built and operated small programmable robots using the VEX Robotics system while volunteering at the VEX Robotics booth. The VEX Robotics System allows students to apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills learned in the classroom and their trade areas to create unique machines built to perform specific tasks. The students readily accepted the chance to participate in this high profile public outreach opportunity. Interest from the public was intense with large crowds gathered around the exhibit throughout the day.
SIATech Sacramento Robotics team member Charles Vann, who studies Carpentry at Sacramento Job Corps Center, noted that, "People were excited about the robots and thought they were cool. Kids were really interested, but the parents liked them too. We allowed everyone to try out the robots."
SIATech Sacramento Robotics team member Johnny Campbell, who studies Office Administration, stated that, "An adult who said he couldn't work a cell phone was even having fun controlling the robots." Since one of the main goals of the Robotics Club is to make the use and application of STEM skills accessible to all, the positive audience reaction is an indicator that our students were successful in creating projects that stimulated the public's imagination. And, perhaps it motivated more than a few parents to get their own children involved with STEM programs and Robotics at their local schools.
As SIATech Sacramento Robotics Club member Nicholas Goodwin, also a Carpentry student, indicated, "For anyone interested in tinkering, or anyone who thinks they may be inclined towards engineering, math, science, computers, or who just likes to be creative and hands-on, VEX and Robotics is a fantastic way to meet new friends and colleagues, and have a fun and educational experience."
A VEX Robotics event will be held in December at the Treasure Island Job Corps Center. Contact Laurie Pianka for more information. View videos showcasing SIATech Robotics at SIATech's YouTube Channel.
SIATech (pronounced SIGH-a-tek) is an award-winning network of charter schools focused on dropout recovery. SIATech is a WASC-accredited high school that operates in partnership with the federal Job Corps and Workforce Investment Act programs on eight campuses throughout California. The school serves 100% low-income and previously out-of-school youth. SIATech excels at identifying student strengths and individualizing instruction to meet each student's needs and goals. The school's safe and caring setting enables students to take charge of their learning and obtain the tools they need for lifetime success, whether it is at their chosen career or further education. For more information on SIATech, watch this short video or visit the SIATech website.