Robotics at Maharishi School

Maharishi School is not new to robotics as this is their sixth year participating in the First Tech Challenge. This year’s team has eight members, five of whom are participating for the first time, and two of which have been participating for three previous years. In terms of skills and interest, this may be the most diverse robotics team in Maharishi School’s history, with over five countries represented. With the guidance of our experienced mentors and returning members, as well as the novel ideas of our new members, we strive for innovative and effective solutions to the problems presented to us.

Last Years Robotics Team

Fundraising and Outreach with COVID

During the lockdown, the team has come up with various ways to fundraise and spread information about our robotics team. Through a new Instagram account, and the help of our local businesses, our team was able to financially support our innovations.

Programming Innovations

The programming team has been leveraging the use of Vuforia** technology to detect rings, a new addition to our team̗’s skill set and robot̗’s capabilities˼ We are also increasingly mindful of optimizing the driving experience and have devoted a lot of time towards significantly reducing the precision and number of controller movements required to complete tasks such as launching rings and placing wobble goals.

Current Robotics Team

Technical Advancements

The most demanding and new task for the design team this year has, by far, been the in-taking and launching of the rings. Our answers to these criteria were an intake ramp and a hopper with a fly-wheel powered launch ramp. Difficulties mainly arose around efforts to maximize effectiveness and efficiency as well as minimizing complexity, given the complications of building with new materials and mechanisms. Successful construction was owed to a balance of practical and systematic engineering methods, along with communication within the team, particularly with programming.

Who’s on the team?

maharishi school student 2021
Budhil Thijm- Engineering Notebook Supervisor

As a senior at Maharishi school participating in my first year of robotics and possibly my last, I hope to do the best I can with my team. As the future progresses I believe robotics and automation will benefit all of us depending on how it is used and learning about it, I hope to be capable of being involved in that future.

Dominic Magnus Dupoux- Fundraiser and Calculatormaharishi school students 2021

Being a junior in my second year of robotics, I hope to take on responsibilities and go out of my comfort zone so that I might help lead the team next year. I worked as the head of fundraising initially as well as in design and construction, particularly in calculations, hoping to approach design in a more systematic way. My strengths are my attention to detail, creativity, and focus.

maharishi school students 2021

Ishitia Paras Mukadam- Junior Programmer

As my first year in robotics, I truly wanted to learn the basics in this field, especially the programming side of it and how it worked alongside the mechanics, so I can use that knowledge in the future. I loved being there and learning the process of connecting the dots between the code and the robot. The main thing I learned is to be patient and persevere through the challenges. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will continue to be a part of this robotics journey throughout my years of high school.

Miles Christopher Siemsen- CAD Mastermaharishi school student 2021

I joined robotics in search of developing new skills and finding other ways I could work with a team. It has been a great experience this year in learning the basics of coding in java as well as learning how to almost replicate the robot my team has built-in CAD. My strengths are that I’m a fast learner, persistent, and cooperative in a group.

maharishi school students 2021

Saraswati Paz Quevedo-Valls- Business Chef

I joined the robotics team to get out of my comfort zone and learn a variety of new skills. As the season is coming to an end, I can say that I have learned a lot since joining the team. Before joining, I was unable to even screw and tighten screws. As well as better communication skills, as I worked a lot on fundraising˼

Shristi Sharma- Senior Programmer

maharishi school student 2021

I love learning new technologies such as programming mecanum wheels, experimenting with Vuforia, and creating driver enhancements. In my last robotics season, I’m optimistic about the team’s future and have been working with our fantastic members to help them take on the programming portion of the challenge for future years. My strengths are my ability to be organized and collaborative.

Skylar Anthony Halley- Head of Design

maharishi school student 2021

As a senior in my third year in FTC, this year my goals have been to help design mechanisms for the robot that will allow us to succeed at each element of the task as well as share some of my knowledge to help prepare future teams after I graduate.

 

Yeabtsega Woubishet Taffesse- Public Relations

I joined the robotics team because I was always interested in engineering and coding. Once I joined the team I realized that I like being involved in the community so I specifically focused on reaching out to people to talk about the robotics team. Before joining the robotics club, I was not aware of the process of making a robot. I have worked on the base of the robot-like the wheels and the motor part of it. I also worked with fundraising and that helped me build up my communication skills.

Fundraising Goals and Efforts

Our fundraising goal this year was to fundraise ̥2000 to put towards our robot. In an effort to do so, we made a list of 38 target companies that we would like to contact for donations. We contacted each of these companies by either calling or emailing in an effort to fundraise money. After contacting all of our target companies, we spent a couple of hours driving to local businesses to get more donations.

When contacting companies or speaking to the managers of our town’s local businesses, we made sure to include what a robotics team is, what we were working towards, and what we would use the money for. If the companies we emailed did not respond, we respectfully sent a follow-up email. So far this season we have been able to raise 1803, which is 197 away from our season fundraising goal.

Sustainability

The Legacy

This year was the last season for three of our robotics team members as they will be graduating. Two of the soon-to-be graduates have been doing robotics their whole high school careers and are the head of our robotics team. The three seniors have been taking this season to not only work on our robot but to teach all of the members who will be here next year.

Our head coder, Shristi, has been working closely with a freshman who is very interested in coding, Ishita. For the whole season, they have been working side by side on the coding elements of our competition. Another soon-to-be graduate, Skylar has been making sure to educate and teach us his thought process and skills he uses when building the robot. I have been working with him alongside Dominic, Miles, and Yeabstega. They take every opportunity they get to let us in on their past experiences and knowledge they have gained from their years in the robotics team. 

Recruiting New Members

At the beginning of each quarter at our school, teachers have the chance to advertise their clubs to students. During the first quarter, the robotics club takes the opportunity and advertises the club to high school students. When we present, we explain all the aspects of robotics such as fundraising, to show how much thought is in the club. As well as pictures of past robots and competitions. We make it clear that you don’t need any experience to join the club, to not limit the students. As someone who has only been doing robotics for less than a year and is fairly new, I think that the team does a good job of teaching and making new teammates feel welcome.

 

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**Vuforia is an augmented reality software development kit for mobile devices that enables the creation of augmented reality applications. It uses computer vision technology to recognize and track planar images and 3D objects in real-time.

Unleash Your Creativity

Project-Based Learning: Discover and test-drive your passionsproject period maharishi school

Each project is either designed by a teacher or proposed by the student at the conception stage and addresses an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. The students work either independently or in small teams and exercise real-life skills in their areas of interest while being fully supported by teachers, community experts, and leaders brought in to match the students’ interests. At the end of each quarter, all the students’ projects are showcased as part of a community-wide event.

Project Period with Miss Sheila Higgins

project period maharishi schoolThe 6th graders at Maharishi School are diving into the world of storytelling with stop motion videos. As they make creative content for their videos they will also be in charge of creating both individual and group stories, while also learning technical skills needed to shoot their concept.

While creating their movie Miss Higgins asks them to plan out a small action sequence that can be a re-telling or  new creation of a familiar story. Her students will take part in drafting the story and building sets, props, as well as characters. On the days that they will be shooting there are several jobs withing the group that need to be done, including a photographer, a mover and a storyteller (or timekeeper). Check out this video to see this project period in process!

 

 

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What is Project Period?

Project-Based Learning: Discover and test-drive your passions

Upper School students are given 70 minutes to work on a passion project 3 days each week. They problem-solve, experiment, falter and keep striving. Through the process, they learn real-world project period cookingskills that will serve them when they are adults working on projects at their workplaces.

Each project is either designed by a teacher or proposed by the student at the conception stage and addresses an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. The students work either independently or in small teams and exercise real-life skills in their areas of interest while being fully supported by teachers, community experts, and leaders brought in to match the students’ interests. At the end of each quarter, all the students’ projects are showcased as part of a community-wide event.

Goals for Projects:

Creativity. Students achieve project outcomes in a variety of ways and are given the tools, resources, and freedom to do so. Students experiment with a variety of possible choices/solutions. Students engage in original thought based on their own understanding and experience. Students understand that foundational knowledge and basic skills allow for more nuanced creativity.

Collaboration. Students work together to achieve project outcomes. Students apply effective strategies to get the most out of group work, in terms of conflict resolution, division of labor, peer feedback. 

Communication. Student practice using various communication methods: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and visual expression.  

Critical thinking. Students use goals/criteria to assess the quality of their group’s ideas/outcomes. Students explore various material and come to an informed, justified conclusion. 

A growth mindset. Students experience that hard work and constructive critical reflection lead to improved outcomes. Students make use of opportunities to complete several drafts/prototypes for a project. Failure is delayed success.

Societal Impact and Service. Students understand that the value of a project comes in its ability to contribute to society. Project outcomes will be considered in terms of both local and social sustainability. 

Interdisciplinary Integration.  Students explore topics from a variety of perspective and integrate skills from across disciplines to create meaningful project outcomes.

Portfolios. Students work towards creating products that can be documented and shared.

2021 Projects to choose from…

  • iPhone Film Production 
  • Podcasting
  • Rocketry
  • Music
  • Robotics 
  • Improv 
  • Cooking
  • Science Fair 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Project Based Learning: Yearbook Project

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a learning method in which students are actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. Three days a week, Maharishi School students are given 70 minutes to work on a passion project. They problem-solve, experiment, falter and keep striving. Each project addresses an authentic, engaging and complex question or challenge. The students exercise real-life skills in their areas of interest while being supported by teachers. Often a community expert or leader on that subject is brought in to match the students’ interests.

What about bringing back the yearbook? 

front of maharishi school 2020

Maharishi School had a yearbook in the past and the desire to reinstate a yearbook was something that Ms. Blitz proposed to her students. “The yearbook, on top of building STEM and design skills, has served as a social bonding agent in our students as they’ve worked together creating, collaging, and reliving memories,” explained Ms. Blitz. The students included in this project period are; Vaisnavii Mohanraj, Jeremy Goodale, Lily Fenton and Ryan Buhre.

What did they learn in this project-based learning project?

During this process of creating a yearbook Ms. Blitz taught the students how to write HTML and CSS code. Throughout the project they had to problem solve and address challenges that arose. Programming requires an increased attention to

high school yearbook collage made by the students

detail, as one student reflected, “I found that doing the task was challenging because I made some small errors in my code (e.g. forgetting to close a tag, forgetting to use a ‘;’ after CSS properties, and so forth). These mistakes have taught me that looking over your code is a crucial step in coding.” The students also experienced working within company design standards, a typical industry practice. The yearbook was created to fit preset color palettes and fonts as set by Maharishi School’s branding guidelines. Exposure to industry standard practices such as this is one of the benefits of having PBL at Maharishi School because of the customization of the curriculum to any specific project.

What can the students do with this knowledge?

In the bigger picture of working with computers, knowing how to insert pictures, use CSS properties, and HTML basics will be important in web development. Because of project-based learning, these students will be able to use the concepts to create posters, 10th grade students at Maharishi School webpages, or further help design within the school. They’re learning skills that can be used for design projects of any company that they choose to work with in the future. PBL is important because the students become directors and managers of their learning process, mentored by a skilled teacher.

If you are interested in purchasing a yearbook or if you have any additional inquiries about the yearbook, please contact Sophia Blitz, sblitz@maharishischool.org. Please note that there is a limited supply of yearbook. The yearbook project team would like to apologize for the mix-up on senior quotes. You will find the quotes of George and Jurina have been switched on the final page of the printed book. Our online version which will be released shortly will have the correct quotes.

The Maharishi School 2020 yearbook was created using Printing Center USA printing services. To create your own print product, checkout www.printingcenterusa.com