As the MeadowBots 7th and 8th grade teams toured Motional, the start-up autonomous taxi service on the Strip, it really hit me: robotics classes are the training ground for the future. Motional, started by a group of students at MIT in the early 2000s, is now partnered with Hyundai and manages a fleet of robo-taxis chartering tourists on the Strip via Lyft (yes—the future is now!). Our team saw the hardware, the software, the testing facility, and more importantly, met the people. They were not the calculator-toting engineer-type in button-down white oxford shirts you might think. These were a bunch of young STEM enthusiasts who felt just like a grown-up robotics team.
As they showed off their advanced hardware, our students kept asking the “what if” questions, and the employees loved it. They responded with enthusiasm, explaining that solving unknown problems is what drives them. They were a bunch of diverse people, with diverse backgrounds, and diverse educational experiences, but they all had a few key things in common: they were innovators, they were aspirational, and they were driven by the want to create positive change for their communities.
Our students were staring squarely in the face of what we keep heeding in the educational world: we are preparing you for a world in which the jobs you will have don’t exist yet, for which complex problems will need complex answers, and that diverse thinking and collaboration will be needed to create out of the box innovation. And all of this is driven by shared values to not just simply make money, but to improve the lives of people. Phew, a lot to take in! Our robotics teammates quickly queued in on this. They showed off their robots and their innovation. They geeked out as they say. And my favorite part, as we were leaving the facility, I overheard one student say, “this is where I want to work when I grow up.
It's amazing what a field trip can do! The robotics coaches at The Meadows School have always known that robotics is the way to train students how to problem solve, work as a team, program and build in a fun, engaging environment, and the best best way to prepare our students for whatever future they can dream. We are so excited by how much the robotics teams have grown over the years and the amazing new facility where we can have all the teams in one space learning from and mentoring each other. Join the MeadowBots Saturday, November 19th at TMS to see robotics in action as we host our first robotics event at The Meadows School.
Robotics Coordinator and Science Teacher
- All School