Making robots: middle schoolers show projects in action

UB Robotics club partners with Kadimah School to introduce middle schoolers to robotics

Published July 14, 2014

by Jane Stoyle Welch

On May 15, middle schoolers at the Kadimah School presented their robots to the class, parents, principal as well as the UB students and club advisors.

Wednesdays were anything but typical this year in Anna Martinick’s grades 5-8 science class at the Kadimah School of Buffalo. That’s because it’s the day when Andrew Lyons, Maureen West, Michael Esswein and other students from the UB Robotics club visited the class to make robots.

The project began when Kadimah’s Principal Einav Symons called UB in search of information about robotics. Andrew and Megan, both officers in the UB Robotics club, were seeking an outreach activity for the club.

The result? Albert the dancing elephant, a “she” puppy, Otis the robotic arm, tank bots that can drive over shoes, and a “spinner” factory that can collect spinners by color and deposit them on a spindle.

On May 15, the proud middle schoolers presented their robots to the class, parents, principal as well as the UB students and club advisors, Kevin Burke and Jennifer Zirnheld, both members of the electrical engineering faculty.

While not all the robots worked as expected, all the children were enthusiastic and anxious to perfect them on their own. Many of the groups credited the UB students with helping them to problem solve on their own.

“We focused on troubleshooting programs, testing ideas, and teaching the kids not to give up,” said Michael Esswein, a freshman mechanical engineering major who will lead the club next year. “The final projects are pretty good!”