New robotics class is brought to DPMHS

Maia Hito

Melissa Hernandez

Gadgets, gizmos, and coding arrive on campus with the addition of a new robotics class this school year.

In Room 2 where the robotics class is held, students are often put into groups to meet new people, exchange ideas and help each other understand robotics more efficiently.

“Robotics is very interactive and hands-on, and we often have to work together,” senior Faith Alvarenga said.

The class began the first day of school with students experimenting and learning how to construct various types of robots. As a beginner’s lesson, students were taught how to create Clawbot, which is a type of robot with claws designed to pick up objects.

Robotics teacher Mark Gendernalik maintains a hands-off teaching style by making his students work together and analyze the problem when an issue comes up. In addition to coding and identifying the different parts of robots, students also learn important skills such as teamwork and problem-solving.

“We start by learning what all the equipment is called to a common language,” said Gendernalik, who teaches at Mulholland Middle School but comes to this campus for the Period 4 robotics class.  “I try and guide them to where they can figure it out and if I think they already have enough and they can figure it out, I don’t give them much of anything at all.”

Students plan to participate in future competitions with other schools but first they must become more experienced in building their own robots. Once they learn how to build different robots and become more experienced with coding, students will be more prepared for upcoming competitions.

In order to be able to compete, the students must create their own team, get the information of the event and raise money for new equipment and transportation. Once everything is completed, the school will finally be qualified for the high school competitions.

“Right now, we are working on a Clawbot so that way everyone can have a basic understanding of how to build a robot,” freshman Chelsea Bangert said. “That way we can be ready for a competition at the end of the year.”

Due to the high demand and interest for a robotics class, there is also an after-school ROP class that started earlier this month.

“As long as we can get a teacher here on our campus to teach it and students are interested, it will be a permanent program,” Principal Deb Smith said. “I would love to see the class grow.”