Robot Rally is Fun, Educating

Robot Rally is Fun, Educating
Angel Vega catches his robot as teammates Michael Vargas and Benji Ramos watch during the Robot Rally.
Cal Poly Pomona students describe their robots during the Robot Rally.
Derrick Brown reacts to his robot during a challenge.

On Tuesday, May 29, about 70 fourth and fifth graders from schools in Pomona and Walnut visited Cal Poly Pomona to participate in a Robot Rally.

The elementary school students had made their own programmable robots using a LEGO® kit with the help of Cal Poly Pomona students and professors.

“These children are in fourth and fifth grade, but they are doing high school- and college-level work. It's amazing,” said Mechanical Engineering Professor Mariappan “Jawa” Jawaharlal.

For about four months, 10 Cal Poly Pomona students and professors, Cesar Larriva (Education), Jill Nemiro (Psychology and Sociology) and Jawaharlal have been working with the elementary school groups to enhance their education of robotics.

The objective of this outreach is to inspire young minds early on so they are excited about science and technology and study how children take to learning about robotics.

The students from Kingsley Elementary School in Pomona and Collegewood Elementary School in Walnut competed in a series of challenges near the Engineering Laboratories Building. They could compete in three challenges, yet they were only required to do one.

The challenge each team needed to do involved their robots knocking three soda cans off a platform and making two revolutions around the platform. The children programmed their robots' movements before hand using software specific to their LEGO® kit.