Grant Spotlight – Robotics

New Trier Robotics Students Gain Competitive Edge and Lifelong Skills

“Students in the robotics club have the opportunity to hone their skills by doing more sophisticated projects that put what they learn about building, coding, and design thinking to the test.”
– Chip Finck, Applied Arts Faculty

Every year, 18 to 20 New Trier robotics club students have the opportunity to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition, where they design and build a robot to compete against teams from other schools in a game-based engineering challenge. Students get to apply what they learn from their STEM classes while developing lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership and communication. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels and culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship in April.

“The club is an extension of the Applied Arts classroom where students get to apply what they learned to a longer and often more complicated challenge,” points out Chip Finck, Technology Education Faculty.

According to Applied Arts Faculty Chip Finck, robotics is an experience that offers students an opportunity to try things that they would not otherwise have a chance to experience within the classroom.
The VEX Competition Field Perimeter consists of 12 modular panels, once assembled can easily be stored or transported. These panels don’t need to be disassembled and are designed with locking hardware for long term durability. This photo shows the perimeter with game-specific elements added.

Students in the robotics club compete to qualify for the VEX State Competition each year. To help them prepare, the Foundation provided $2,146.29 funding support for the club to invest in a VEX Competition Field Perimeter Kit through the grants program. Designed to be reusable every year, the kit provides a relatively low-cost, high-durability modular field perimeter for use at a competition tournament.

New Trier robotics club members participate in three events: land based (VEX Robotics), water based using a remote operated vehicle (ROV), and air based drone competitions. The VEX field is primarily used for land robots, but the students are able to take elements from the VEX field and use those elements to help create the drone race course, to improve their reaction time and their control skills for the drone relay race, where New Trier’s varsity team finished as the 2018 State Champion!


This under water competition allows students to experience an entirely new world of robotics by designing and building ROVs to tackle missions modeled after scenarios from the ocean workplace.
New Trier hosted a drone relay race in 2018 with an amazing course held in the new concourse of the Winnetka campus.

“Our team looks forward to hosting the kickoff round of the scholastic drone competition in 2019,” says Finck. “It will be an opportunity to showcase the students’ skill level and passion, thanks to the investment of the Foundation in their education.”

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Read more impact stories:

Grants Spotlight 2018-2019

Grants Spotlight 2017-2018

Grants Spotlight 2016-2017

Grants Spotlight 2015-2016