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Tim Savoy of the Priceville High School robotics team helps Falkville Elementary School students Mariah Walls, Riley Carroll and Davonna Shirley assemble a sound-detecting robot. The Priceville robotics club is teaching a robotics camp at the Falkville Elementary cafeteria. Students will also design a brochure to explain what they’ve done during the week. On Friday, the school will host an open house so parents can see what their children have created.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Tim Savoy of the Priceville High School robotics team helps Falkville Elementary School students Mariah Walls, Riley Carroll and Davonna Shirley assemble a sound-detecting robot. The Priceville robotics club is teaching a robotics camp at the Falkville Elementary cafeteria. Students will also design a brochure to explain what they’ve done during the week. On Friday, the school will host an open house so parents can see what their children have created.

Building a
love for robotics

Priceville High students teach youths how to construct neat gadgets

By Emily Peck
epeck@decaturdaily.com · 340-2408

Attention Transformer lovers. The movie theater isn’t the only place to see walking machines.

Robots abound at Falkville elementary. This week, Priceville High School’s robotics club is teaching children to build cool gadgets.

“The camp is a lot of fun,” said 10-year-old Andrew Williamson, as he tinkers with a rainbow of wires.

He and fellow campers are building a robot that follows sound. The finished product looks something like a miniature R2-D2 and moves whenever you clap.

This contraption is one of the machines students ages 5 to 13 build. On Tuesday, they constructed tiny solar power racecars.

“I like getting to build things,” said Williamson. “I’m really interested in computers and technology.”

This kind of enthusiasm is what camp leaders hope to inspire.

“We want to get the kids interested in math and science,” said 17-year-old Lorand Dragu, chief executive officer of Priceville’s robotics club.

The event doesn’t just show students how to build machines said Dragu. It teaches them skills essential to robotics such as teambuilding and marketing.

Children play games — Simon Says and the Human Knot — that teach them to work together. Students also design a brochure to explain what they’ve done during the week. On Friday, the school will host an open house so parents can see what their children have created.

Dragu said the event is a great way for the robotics
club to foster community learning.

He joined the robotics club five years ago after moving to the area from Romania.

At that time, the club was an after-school activity students did for fun.

“Students did their own fundraising and got sponsors for the club,” said Priceville teacher Rochelle Biffle.

Competition

Last year the group of 51 teenagers won the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology competition.

The program will soon become a class at Priceville High School.

Dragu said he hopes this week’s event will encourage Falkville schools to develop a robotics program.

This is the first time the robotics club has held a robotics camp.

Biffle said she hopes to have another one next year.

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