About the program
The robotics program at ASL empowers each student to thrive as a lifelong learner and courageous global citizen by fostering intellect, creativity, inclusivity and character within the context of age-appropriate robotics challenges.
From IPoP classes in the Lower School to competitive robotics in the High School, students are encouraged to become thinkers, explorers, collaborators and innovators.
In addition to a variety of technical skills, students learn valuable communication skills and have numerous opportunities to demonstrate respectfulness, responsibility, kindness and integrity.
Whether they are completely new to robotics or have participated for many years, students in the High School have many avenues to grow intellectually and personally through the robotics program at ASL.
The robotics class is open to students of all skill levels and focuses on fostering both collaborative and individual growth, based on the FIRST Tech Challenge game presented each year. As an after-school program, students can participate in the FIRST FRC robotics competition, gaining experience in CAD, web design, fabrication, electronics, pneumatics, programming and game strategy.
Students of many diverse talents learn essential teamwork skills and have numerous opportunities for outreach and leadership both inside and outside the team. Students participating in the HS robotics program leave ASL well prepared for further study towards careers in STEM leadership.
High school faculty/staff advisors
FIRST robotics competition
The HS robotics program participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), with a pre-season running from October-December. At this time, the team participates in basic skills and training exercises (machining, electronics, programming). Then, on the first Saturday in January, the FRC “game” of the season is announced via live webcast, and teams are tasked with a new problem where they may have to throw frisbees, launch balls, or do any other number of unique tasks.
After the “game” has been announced, students from around the world build robots to play the game in just six short weeks. Griffins 1884 and Phoenix 1797, the two ASL teams, then travel each March to compete at various locations around the globe.
2018: Shenzhen Regional
2017: Shenzhen Regional
2016: New York City Regional
2015: New York City Regional
2014: New York City Regional
2013: WPI Regional
2012: WPI Regional
2011: WPI Regional
2010: Boston Regional
2006: Lone Star Regional
Middle school students have the opportunity to explore robotics in a variety of ways. All Grade 5-6 students experience Lego robotics in their science classrooms, and FIRST Lego League is available as an after-school program for Grades 5-8, where students work towards competing in local and national tournaments.
In FIRST Lego league, students are introduced to block programming and engineering design principles. Grade 7 students have the option to take a robotics elective that introduces them to more advanced robots, using metal parts and Java programming. From there, Grades 7-8 students have the option to compete in FIRST Tech Challenge as an after-school competition team. The main focus of MS robotics in is to introduce students to design thinking, engineering concepts and computer programming.
Students who continue in the program develop an increasingly sophisticated skillset aimed at preparing them to participate in FIRST FRC competitions in the High School, as well as giving them a strong foundation for future science, programming and design classes.
Middle school faculty/staff advisors
Lower school students have the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular engineering and computational thinking practices in the IPoP program as early as Grade 1. The program has seen various engineering and coding offerings over the years, one course of which is the Lego Robotics program, in which students are introduced to the basics of sequencing using block coding as well as exercising their creative and constructivist skills in building motorized Lego robots equipped with sensors.
With an aim to incorporate more STEM practices into the LS curriculum, the division integrated the Junior FIRST Lego League challenge into the Grade 4 curriculum in 2015. All Grade 4 students are presented with a real-world problem, for which they work in small teams to develop research projects as well as designing and coding a moving Lego model of their team’s generated solution. The program, which is now called Cities For the Future, teaches Grade 4 students about city planning and Sustainable Urban Drainage Solutions and connects them with the Grosvenor Britain & Ireland Group to help redesign public spaces in London.