There was no sleeping in this past Saturday morning for the robotics team from Science Hill High School in Johnson City. They got up early for the fourth weekend in a row to drive to Pellissippi State Community College in West Knox County to learn how to program robots.
The Science Hill students joined 15 other students from the Knox County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy and Farragut, Gibbs, Knoxville Catholic, Seymour, and Webb high schools for the free training. The training will help prepare the participants for the Smoky Mountains Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at the Knoxville Convention Center March 1-3.
The training sessions are a collaboration between Pellissippi State and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST was founded in 1989 as a nonprofit organization to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.
The high school students are using Pellissippi State’s LabVIEW course content, as well as a classroom on the Pellissippi Campus, 9-noon. The instructor is Gary Armstrong, president of Maverick Systems, Inc., a robotics-related business, and an adjunct faculty member in LabVIEW at Pellissippi State. LabVIEW is a visual rather than text-based programming language often used by scientists and engineers.
Other instructors taking part in training the students are Carl Mallette and Kenneth Swayne, Engineering Technology faculty members at Pellissippi State, and teachers from the Knox County, Sevier County and Johnson City school systems.