The Jetstream Journal

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What’s Up With Robotics?

Students+work+on+the+robot+with+some+of+Team+622%27s+many+awards+in+the+background.-Picture+taken+by+student+Grace+Muncey+
Students work on the robot with some of Team 622's many awards in the background.-Picture taken by student Grace Muncey

Students work on the robot with some of Team 622's many awards in the background.-Picture taken by student Grace Muncey

Students work on the robot with some of Team 622's many awards in the background.-Picture taken by student Grace Muncey

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The Rocky Mountain Robotics Team 622 is one of the highlights of Air Academy’s and District 20’s extra curricular activities. Over the course of its 17 year history, the robotics team has earned 22 awards and obtained sponsors such as Northrop Grumman and Marco’s Pizza as well as appearing at the “What If? festival for the past three years.

Robotics pulls together students from all six of the high schools in the district to form the team. Team 622’s  job is to build, program and wire a robot that competes against other teams across the country in a set event at the beginning of the season.

“We build robots to compete in challenges every year; the objective varies each year on what the theme is. You’ve got to be really innovative to get ahead in those competitions because you get one chance, you can’t go back and build another robot,” said junior Jaxon Mawhine. “Usually the competitions are centered around some sort of game, last year it was called the First Power-up Competition.”

The robots are tailor-made for each of these competitions and are of varying shapes and sizes in order to accomplish each unique challenge and sub-challenge. There are nine different departments within Team 622. Each is responsible for a different part of the robot or team. The departments are: Drive Train, Manipulator, Programming, Quality Assurance, Scouting and Strategy, Special Projects, Wiring and Pneumatics, Public and Team Relations, and Media and Production. Each one plays a vital role in either the actual robot or the team surrounding it. 

“Because of the size of our team, instead of everybody working on every aspect of the robot we have departments. Certain groups will work on certain pieces of the robot. An example would be the wiring and drive train departments. Wiring covers all the electronic aspects. Drive train covers how the robot actually moves,” said Mawhine.

The program is strongly student lead, although there are adult mentors, such as engineering teacher Jason Buhler, with students holding the CEO and COO positions as well as the students handling most of the media and public aspects of the team. The adult mentors act as supervisors and teachers, hanging back and offering advice as the students build the robot, rather than being in a more restrictive environment.

“It gets students to understand what it takes to make something happen. It gets them to learn how to organize and run things, which are all skills that are important in our world these days,” said Buhler. “It’s students leading students instead of grumpy old men leading students.”

Though it’s not just about the robots.

“The program is about using robots to help people grow as human beings,” said Buhler. “The best part about the whole thing is that it is about the people more than it is about the robot. It’s getting people to grow and learn and have a lot of fun.”

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Eli Andrew, Journalist

Hey, I'm Eli Andrew, a Junior this year at AAHS I like the outdoors, rap, metal and other than that not much else.

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What’s Up With Robotics?