SJV’s Robotics and Engineering Classes


Alexis Santoro, Writer

Saint John Vianney High School has offered an engineering class since last year, and a robotics class since 2014. The main focus of the Robotics class, taught by Mrs. Surace, is to introduce students to basic programming in a hands-on and fun approach through Lego building. Engineering, taught by Mr. Quinn and Mrs. Garrity, mainly focuses on simple machinery, materials science, and programming robots.

The robotics course has increased interest in computer science and engineering careers. Throughout the course, students learn to program robots to perform tasks such as going through a maze, or functioning on an inclining surface. “It is a different way of approaching programing that is not overwhelming at entry level,” said Surace. Surace went on to explain that students will be able to learn programming from a more hands-on approach, which is an easier way to learn programming for some students. The main project in the class is to create a music video with the robots by programming them to play music and dance to the beat. Currently, there is only one level of robotics offered, but SJV is hoping to add another level for the upcoming year.

The engineering course was introduced to the curriculum at SJV only two years ago and is already taught at two different levels. Engineering I, taught by Mrs.Garrity, a former civil engineer, is an introductory course that focuses mainly on Engineering Design. Engineering I is a “really good beginner course” especially for students who are thinking of a career in engineering, said Garrity Mr.Quinn’s Engineering II class focuses on the principles of engineering and building simple machines. Quinn added, “We will have an additional course ‘to be determined’ next year.” The main project in the Engineering II class is a marble sorter that takes more complex programming  and assembly than other projects. Both Garrity and Quinn explained that students wishing to pursue a career in engineering should be proficient in both science and math in order to be successful.

Technology is a crucial part of both robotics and engineering. Both courses use their own set of unique equipment that enables students to get the most out of the class. The robotics class uses mindstorm software and Lego Mindstorms Ev3. The mindstorm software is used to program the robot, which is built from the Legos. In the engineering classes, the technology comes from the foundation, Project Lead the Way. The foundation specializes in providing schools with the proper technology for an engineering course. The aspiring engineers also use software to further study solids and to program machines.

The robotics and engineering classes expose and introduce students to new career paths and subjects that they may not have been previously interested in or familiar with. The courses have opened doors for students at SJV that will greatly help them when it comes to choosing a major in college or a career.