QAVTC Robotics Team Preparing to Compete - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

QAVTC Robotics Team Preparing to Compete

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a challenge to America's high schools to better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. He's looking for more classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math - skills that will fill jobs today and in the future.

A club at Quincy High School may already fit the bill. This is only the second year for the self-funded QAVTC robotics club.

Members say their robot design has made some improvements since they debuted it in competition last year. They say they've learned more about engineering from this club, and it's helping to prepare them for what comes next.

Launching a simple Frisbee requires a more complicated piece of machinery than you might think.

"And as the pneumatic arm pulls back, it will push the Frisbee into the wheels and it will catch and release the Frisbee," explained team member Venancio Da Ilva.

Their goal? to try to launch those Frisbees through the target. Later students hope to work the robot to climb a pyramid. It's just an extracurricular activity right now, but some day many of these students want to do this kind of work full time.

"I plan on going into mechanical engineering after high school - so robots, electronics, machines, just sparks an interest," said Da Ilva.

Faculty advisor Kristy McKenna says these students are already talented in mathematics and design, but building this robot has also shown them some other lesser known facts about engineering.

"They had their math and their science and their physics, but when we get into this, they also need to know how to weld and do the machining - and now they understand how those two pieces have to fit together to be an engineer," she said. 

She says watching these students not only learn together, but work together is a skill they'll need for the rest of their lives.

"It's about the camaraderie of the team."

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