High school students are learning about life while building a battle bot.

At Red Canyon High School, the robots are ready to rumble.  Building a battle bot and competing with it means that students enjoy the competition against university students and engineering professionals, and they have a lot of fun while learning.

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The STEM class has built five battle bots, and is the only high school at a maker fair in Denver competing against professionals and college students.

The machine shop at Red Canyon consists of a soldering iron, several hammers, a drill press, a set of metal shears and some metal screws. The battle bots were built from aluminum bleacher sets that had been tossed in the school dumpster.

“Sometimes it was makeshift, but we made it work,” sophomore Jonah Wolansky said.

The program is run by teachers Brian Wiehe and Christina Gosselin.  “Thank god she was with me, or it would have been too wild,” Wiehe said.

The drilling and hammering created so much noise that other teachers would occasionally look in and ask “Is everything alright?”

But the students viewed the noise as the sound of learning.  There were no worksheets, no kits, no lectures.  The practical lessons of science, technology, engineering and math were hands on.

Red Canyon’s battle bot project is based on five steps of the science:

  • • Identify
  • • Explore
  • • Design
  • • Create
  • • Improve

“After you design and build it, you really do have to improve it,” Caraveo said.

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