Academic Excellence

Lend Robots a Hand

Student Reporter: Pam Qian, Class of 2016

What is a robot to you? A mechanical human? Is a pencil sharpener, a refrigerator, or an automobile a robot to you? Sponsored by the Mendocino County 4-H, students learn how to build a cool robot through the process of applying principles of physics and putting different parts together in the Junk Drawer Robotics Club.

During the past two weeks, we made a marshmallow catapult, which is designed to be able to shoot the marshmallow six feet away! Making a well-functioning marshmallow catapult requires knowledge of how a lever works, knowledge of projectile motion, as well as some engineering. Students are asked to design their catapults first in order to better understand the building of the structure with a minimum of materials, which is one of the key considerations in a robotic design. Multiple materials are provided, including ping-pong balls, popsicle sticks, chopsticks, paper clips, brass clips, metal rings, rubber bands, a hole puncher, a hole driller, a glue gun, straws, and so forth.

This club gives students a chance to use their imagination as well as their knowledge of math and physics. Time always seems to fly when we’re having fun with robotics. We all wish the session could last longer.


Categories: Academic Excellence

Tagged as: