MCS Students Build a Robot with Parts Donated by Greensea Systems, Inc.

May 1, 2015

The Mater Christi Makerspace located on the second floor of the MCS elementary building is home to a new community of makers. It was formed to provide space and materials for students and teachers to explore, make and share. Thanks to a lot of hard work on the part of adults in the MCS community, in particular, Mike Early, MCS technology director, and Tricia Finkle MCS Makerspace Consultant, the space which was merely someone’s dream last summer is now a reality.

Greensea Systems, Inc., a leading provider of navigation and control systems for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) in Richmond, recently donated an eclectic collection of leftover parts from their factory stock room. From this primordial soup emerged a plan to learn how to design and build robots, and the school’s tech staff decided to challenge its community to make a robot in a single day. Over a dozen students and adults accepted the challenge and gathered on Saturday, April 11, to create the robot. By the end of the day, with help from Generator in Burlington, a basic platform robot controlled by radio remote was a reality.

A few days later, with LED lights added, the robot was demonstrated at a school gathering. Participants agreed that the day proved to be not only a challenge but, more importantly, a great learning opportunity and fun. Plans for the robot now include switching to a programmable controller – using written code to control it. A robotic arm will also be added.

This new inventor’s workshop and computer lab has been getting very busy, and teachers are constantly reminded to sign out if they plan to bring their classes to it. The room is large enough that with certain classes there can be one class using the computers and another working at the tables. According to several teachers, “A big convenience of this space is that their students do not need to put their incomplete projects away, avoiding loss of time and frustration. The projects will be there waiting for completion by their young inventors.”

Sister Joanne LaFreniere, RSM
Director of Public Relations and Spiritual Life