Farmington HS robotics club helps students get interested in math and science

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FARMINGTON, N.M. – You may remember building bird houses in high school, well now students are learning how to build robots and fly drones.

Welcome to the Farmington High School’s Robotics Club.

“(It’s) a club that does VEX Robotics where the kids build robots,” said Gretchen Greer, a math teacher at Farmington High School. “This year, our club has expanded to include drones.”

Multiple drones that are flown at once in a 24 by 24 foot field, where students work in teams with the objective of outscoring each other.  

“The drones take off from the sides, there are four, two red, two blue. They try to move these little colored ping pong balls out and score points,” Greer added.

While this looks like pure fun, there is math and science behind it. 

“They also have a coding element where each team is given a minute, and by just using the code they prepare on their computer; they press play and have the drone score points on its own,” Greer said.

Skills that apply to a future career.

“There are so many opportunities career wise, coding is just a part of so many fields these days, so this gives them those skill sets that they can take with them and find what they really want to do,” said Michelle Thur, an enrichment and gifted coordinator for the district. 

And it’s doing exactly that, helping them pinpoint what’s next.

“I would like to go into engineering, mechanical engineering,” said Damien Nelson, a Farmington High School junior. “It got me really interested and hooked onto it, and the building part, I like to build things.”

For Michael Lopez, a cool sounding club turned into a new skill.

“I started learning that there is coding involved and ended up being really good at it, so I decided to stick with it,” said Lopez. 

The Farmington High School Robotics Club teams have qualified for national competitions for both drones and VEX robotics taking place later this month, and they rank just outside of 20 for coding nationally.