Connecting Robotics to the Real World

Scott Weiler is an engineering, robotics, coding, and media teacher at Amphi Middle School in Tucson, Arizona.

Robots are cool; however, they can be seen as “the future” instead of “now.” As with other subjects, learning happens in robotics when students make more realistic connections.

One way we’re accomplishing this at Amphi Middle School is by bringing in guest speakers and taking field trips. We have had guest speakers who have been inventors and business owners of small companies come in to talk about their robotics, from sales to manufacturing. I also contact the larger companies to find people who have robotics working on the manufacturing floor.

It takes time and research to find companies and make connections. Now I’ve made some connections that really inspire my students: from a single-man company that designs robotic arms, to another that builds off-road survey robots, to a medium company that has an automated assembly line the size of a football field, to a large company that uses robotics for military purposes.

I have noticed students may absorb more when a message comes from a guest speaker than when it comes from me. It makes sense to them, and they are excited.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of this guest author.