The Midland Classical Academy Robotics Club was established to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. By competing in robot-building competitions, students work alongside adult mentors to fund raise, design, program and build a working robot that performs tasks specified in the competition rules.
Competitions are sponsored by FIRST, a national organization designed to bring industry and education together to inspire young people toward degrees and careers in science and technology. The website for FIRST
describes the industry sponsors (NASA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing etc.), the levels of robotics competitions they support, and the scholarship and grant potential that exists for students involved in FIRST sponsored robotics clubs.
The MCA Robotics Club is open to all MCA students grades 7-12, but should appeal the most to juniors and sophomores taking Physics and Chemistry, any student who has previous experience with remote-control devices, or any student who has ambitions to pursue a math/science degree in college.
There are many ways for students to be involved in MCA's Robotics Club.
Some students design the mechanical equipment which will accomplish the various tasks that the robot is asked to perform. Programmers use an industry-recognized software program called App Designer to code an on-board computer that drives the robot. Drivers use joysticks to operate the robot by remote-control during competitions.
Other students construct the robot, doing whatever is necessary to physically assemble the mechanical parts. Assembly may require welding or the manufacture of new parts.
Finally, other students develop organizational and rhetorical skills to help raise funds, account for income and expenses, advertise, and make presentations to potential donors. Students also are responsible for communication and team spirit, through the use of social media, pictures, and t-shirts.
Adult mentors of various skills and backgrounds work alongside the students to assist them in all aspects of the build and competition process. Adult mentors need only to love kids and be willing to teach, as students are given responsibilities and ownership of the project.
We are badly in need of adult mentors!!! If you have ever wanted to work with students on an integrated team, or if you have any design, programming, building or administration skills which you think would be of use, or if you just want to learn more, contact the school for more information.
Fundraising and Club Costs
The MCA Robotics Club is funded by grants and donations that believe in the goal of promoting science and technology excellence at MCA. Corporate or individual grants are sought each year to pay for a “kit of parts” from FIRST, and the entry fee to compete in a regional competition in Lubbock. All costs and expenses of hotels, food and transportation are paid as they occur by the members of the Robotics Club, similar to other extracurricular activities at MCA. At the current time, MCA is not funded to compete in the national competition, but funds may be needed in the future as success dictates.
If you or someone you know would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the MCA Robotics Club, please contact Midland Classical Academy. Donations must be made to MCA and earmarked specifically for MCA Robotics.
Benefits and Scholarships
All members of the MCA Robotics Club may use the experience to enhance their college resume. Colleges are looking for well-rounded students with a wide array of extracurricular activities. In addition, students in MCA science classes who are heavily involved in the Robotics Club may appeal to their tutors to receive Mastery with Honors status in their math or science class. Approval may depend on class fit and the student’s level of participation. Finally, numerous scholarships are available to participants in FIRST Robotics Clubs. The FIRST website lists over 128 organizations that offer over $14 million dollars in scholarships to high school seniors. Although many of these scholarships depend on the student pursuing a science-related degree, many are general scholarships.