School receives AdvancED STEM certification _lowres

Photo provided by Mark Pellegrin -- Gathering around a student-created robot delivering a cup of coffee to Ascension Christian Superintendent Mark Pellegrin, from left, are Dale Englehorn, Tyler Daigle, Bryce Myers, Easton Stelly, teacher Nathan Catlin, Jeffrey Ragusa, Nicholas Weber, Eddie Krass, Gavin LeDoux and Pellegrin. The school's efforts in science, technology engineering and math has earned it a national honor.

Students at Ascension Christian High School recently surprised their superintendent with a cup of coffee delivered to his office by a robot.

Computer science class students interrupted the superintendent during a meeting to showcase the newly designed mechanical barista.

Teacher Nathan Catlin said his class has been working on the robot for several weeks in preparation to make the delivery to school Superintendent Mark Pellegrin.

“Mr. Pellegrin issued the challenge asking the engineering students to design a robot that could deliver coffee to his office. By the look on his face when we arrived, I don’t think he really expected the students to make it happen,” Catlin said.

Catlin’s students decided on the design and organized the programming in a few days. Catlin said the real challenge for the students was to incorporate controls for the robot’s movements.

“Students had to configure the use of cellphones as controllers for the movement of the robot,” Catlin said. “One cellphone was on the robot communicating with the other cellphone managed by the students.”

Catlin said Ascension Christian High School teachers are working hard to accentuate 21st century skills by challenging students to do advanced-level thinking, including systematic problem-solving in an inquiry-based learning environment. Catlin said robots are commonplace in today’s science classes. The greater challenge for educators requires remaining abreast of technology and cyber innovation, he said.

“We are thankful to have numerous partnerships in the state that support advancement of these kinds of programs,” Catlin said. “Without these collaborative resources, it would be difficult to produce the level of training these students need to be effective in the workforce.”