- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

UBLY, Mich. (AP) - Robotics has arrived at Ubly High School.

A six-week project to build, program and operate a robot to compete in state robotic games was unveiled recently at the school to a group of school board members, parents and business representatives.

Sophomore Ashley Osentoski described how her team of students built and programmed the robot, before it moved and threw a big red ball - with accuracy - at a target.

Veteran science teacher Stewart Kieliszewski said it took some fine tuning to produce the impressive results that will be taken to state competition in March.

“The students came in last night to get things finalized,” Kieliszewski told the Huron Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1d0xt1p ). “We were getting it to shoot, but we weren’t happy with it. … We had to tweak the shooting mechanism.”

He said the project began in the fall when he attended some meetings for the robotics competition. But when the robot kit arrived in early January, he and the students were a bit overwhelmed.

Some other schools provided some robotics tips and, over time, the Ubly students were able to master the construction and computer code writing needed to operate the robot.

“There were more than a few nights when I worried, are we going to get this thing together?” Kieliszewski said. “The kids would ask me what do we do next, and I would say, ‘I don’t know what we do next.’

“It was a steep learning curve.”

The students involved in the robotics also included Adam Grifka, Daniel Rutkowski, Megan Leppek, David Bowman, Noah Krueger, Dylan Leitner and Chelsea Holdwick.

“I was impressed with what the kids learned,” their teacher said. “They had to solder wires, make the frame and work with metal, things they had never done before.”

Jeremy Warner helps coach the group, while the team received mentoring from Gregg Kranz, Scott Jump and Kerry Grifka.

Kieliszewski said a number of local businesses provided assistance. Part of the goal was to create interest among business sponsors. He said the Ubly team, called the 5155 Bearcats, will be competing with much larger schools in games where robots try to score goals with balls.

“Some of the teams we’re going up against have gigantic corporate sponsors, like GM or Chrysler,” Kieliszewski said.

He said the school received a $9,000 state grant for this year’s robot.

And, he sees the value in challenging the students to learn something new.

“It’s been a success. I feel good about it and the kids are excited about, too.”

Kranz, who is an automation engineer at the Gemini Group, was in attendance. It was the culmination of some of his mentoring.

“I’ve been involved with it since the start,” he said. “It’s great for the kids. It’s a great learning experience.”


Information from: Huron Daily Tribune, https://www.michigansthumb.com

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