Bolles Robotics Breaks New Ground, Draws Students of All Ages
The Bolles School begins to develop student skills in innovation, engineering, problem-solving and design at an early age. Each year, students on both lower school campuses convene for robotics team practice after school. Part of the FIRST Lego League organization, the teams are lead by experienced coaches from the Bolles IT and science faculty.
These foundational design techniques also are honed in the libraries and maker space labs on both lower school campuses as part of grade level curriculum. Bolles feels strongly that this work is important to the development of young people who can work together to find solutions to real world problems.
Bolles robotics and computer/coding skills ramp up on the Bolles Middle School Bartram Campus, which has two competitive FLL teams that have excelled at local and regional levels. Students use many of these skills in classroom assignments as well, including the science labs – which encourage the use of gaming technology, coding and other design programs for projects.
By the time robotics students reach the upper school level, they are well girded to use an even more robust array of equipment and information. 3-D printers, a robotics lab, a green screen, Tinkercad technology, drafting computers, special art printers and coding classes are available to all students. The upper school team, historically coached by Bolles Chief Technology Officer Paul Sollee ’88 and other dedicated IT staff and faculty, also has been successful on the local and regional robotics competition scene. Students also engage in on-campus competitions, including robotics dance-offs, battles and technology displays.
Students are learning how to use these tools, and many others, through innovative technology course offerings including robotics, coding, game design and even through a new kinetic sculpture class that blends an understanding of coding and robotics with the creative expression of art. For the first time in school history, there are flourishing robotics team efforts underway on all four Bolles campuses. All competed at the state level this year and two will go on to the national competition this summer.