Robotics classes give students new tech option

Two new classes formed after popularity of club


Robotics team members at the World Championships last year fixing their robot in between matches (photo courtesy of Blake Saunders).

Zoe Knott, Freelance Writer

In response to the rise of engineering, technology, and programming careers, LT is offering two new classes: Robotics 1 and Robotics 2, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. These classes will help students learn about skills that are beneficial in these fields. 

“Robotics is a high-demand career area right now. People studying engineering or have the aptitude for engineering, and math and science students can find their way in that field,” said Blake Sauders, Robotics Club coach, and architecture and engineering design teacher. “There is teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, and the whole engineering design process. This appeals to a lot of students.”

Robotics 1 will focus on similar techniques and skills important to Robotics Club, which first started competing during the 2017-2018 school year, while Robotics 2 is an arm-based class that students would see in more of an industrial setting, Sauders said. 

With robotics becoming more and more popular among students by way of the club, Sauders and Scott Eggerging, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, realized it was time to start writing curriculum and designing projects for these new classes. With the number of students participating in the Robotics Club, the administration expects many students will sign up for these classes. 

Over the past two years, teachers have been working on developing a curriculum, and the district is buying relevant materials. So far, all of the materials for the intro class have been purchased, and because of the higher cost, materials for the Robotics arms class are still being sourced, Eggerding said. 

These classes will give students who are interested in robotics an opportunity to learn more than what they would receive in the club, Eggerding said. 

Robotics club member Vasiliki Fournier ‘24 is glad that there will be a course to teach the basics and introduce students to the area of robotics. As Fournier has been a club member for the past three years, she has had to work independently, with peers, and Sauders to learn all the steps in designing a prize-winning robot. 

“I had to know what each part was, what I had to do with them, and the best ways to do that stuff,” Fournier said. “I think that it is very good they are turning this into a class.”

The school is looking into what the College of DuPage or Triton College requires in regard to dual credit and is hoping to be able to get some students college credit for taking this course. As of now, Robotics 1 is the prerequisite for Robotics 2. Robotics 1 will be offered at both campuses and Robotics 2 only at North unless demand requires it to be both, Eggerding said.