Engineering and Robotics at American Heritage Charter Schools (AHCS)
This school year has brought some changes to our Engineering and Robotics Programs at American Heritage Charter Schools (AHCS) as we make engineering and robotics an even more important element of our overall academic program. We now offer expanded engineering class options, with robotics as an elective credit course. This reorganization will lay the foundation for the future expansion of engineering courses and will help to make our robotics program even more comprehensive and competitive.
For 7th and 8th graders at Heritage Junior High and Heritage Flex Academy, we are offering an introductory robotics course based on the robots built for the FIRST Tech Challenge. The course is offered after school, two days a week, and is taught by Mr. Justin Heinen, who also teaches the Principles of Engineering course at ECHS. Students enrolled in the course will learn computer-assisted design and be able to produce 3-D printed objects. Students will also become familiar with the basics of programming and electronics, and will design, build, and program a fully-functional robot to meet the requirements for the current year’s robot challenge.
At Escondido Charter High School (ECHS), we have expanded our engineering course offerings and have made those courses available to students in both the Traditional and Flex Learning Options. In addition to the Principles of Engineering course that we offered last year, we have added courses in Introduction to Engineering Design, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Biomedical Engineering. These are Project Lead the Way courses and have been approved as a-g courses for admission to the UC system.
The ECHS Robotics Program will now be offering elective course credit for students who take the after-school robotics courses. All students who are new to robotics will be taking the Introduction to Robotics course, which acquaints them with a wide range of topics from shop safety and organization, to programming and electronics, to working with hand tools in the shop to assemble robots. Students who have more than a year’s experience in robotics are enrolled in the Intermediate or Advanced Robotics courses and will get more in-depth training in programming, electronics, SolidWorks design, and machine shop fabrication.
Even though we have now made robotics a class, we are still a 'competitive team' - and we hope to be even more prepared for competition as we move forward. Starting in January, our 'competition team' will receive the specifications for the new game, and we will then spend the next six weeks designing, building, and programming a competitive robot to meet the challenge. The team will attend two regional competitions in March, with hopes of returning to the World Championships in April.