Robotics team rebooted at Port Clinton High School

Feb 27, 2024 | Sports | 0 comments

The Port Clinton Roboskins had a tremendous first year that set a foundation for a stronger show of competition next school year. Show here are, from left, Dean Coppeler, Finnegan Astley, Xavier Good, Liam Coppeler, Mica Cuevas, Abram Sandvick, Ethan Leis, Davis Toris, Austin Leis, Mason Short, Alex Hill and Quinton Cook. (Submitted photo)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

After a two-year break, Port Clinton High School STEM teacher, Bobby Good, is back to teaching students about the wonders of robotics and the real-world opportunities it brings. Good took a leave of absence from his teaching position at the school to spend two years living in his wife’s native Thailand. The opportunity gave his children the chance to learn about their heritage.

“I wanted to expose my kids to their mother’s culture,” Good said.

In the end, it also exposed Good to a unique worldview on education. While in Thailand, he taught STEM classes to children from around the world at an international school and connected with international teachers whose educational philosophies opened his eyes to new ways to teach.

“It was an awesome experience. What I didn’t expect was the professional growth I’d have,” Good said. “I worked with people from all over the world and learned different teaching techniques.”

Port Clinton Roboskins A and B teams face off in their final tournament of the year against Norwalk High School NERD Nations’ Z and C teams. (Submitted photo)

Good returned to Port Clinton with a new focus on student-centered learning that promotes teaching to the individual child instead of basing teaching strategies on generalized philosophies that “work well for the functionality of the class,” he said.

He also heard about the impact of project-based education that allows students to learn content through the process of completing projects as opposed to learning content and then applying those lessons to a project.

“They don’t want to do the learning first because they don’t know why they’re learning it,” Good said.

When Good returned to his Port Clinton High School classroom last fall, he rebooted the school’s robotics teams that had shuttered during his absence. The teams – one high school and one middle school – met nearly daily from August through February to learn about robotics and prepare for competition.

From left, Port Clinton High School STEM teacher, Bobby Good, sophomore Alex Hill and sophomore Mason Short had a great year of robotics competition. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

In his last year of teaching at Port Clinton before moving to Thailand, his team won first place at the annual Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology (BEST) competition at Bowling Green State University. This year, he started fresh with a new group of middle school and high school students. They didn’t qualify for state, but they learned a tremendous amount about robotics and had a lot of fun.

“I love it. We get to build robots and do stuff I can’t do at home,” said sophomore Mason Short. “And this is another skill I can add to my portfolio.”

When asked what he learned on the robotics team, Short said some of the best lessons came through failure.

“What haven’t we learned?” he said. “The different ways we’ve failed have taught us everything we know. Failure is necessary.”

For many on the team, the experience will have lasting benefits.

“I joined it for fun, but it can help me in the future,” said sophomore Alex Hill. “I’ve enjoyed working as a team to solve problems and learning mechanical principles.”

The Good family during their final weeks in Thailand enjoy the sights at Samed Nong Chee in Southern Thailand. (Submitted photo)

Short said there are many local opportunities for employment if any of the team members want to pursue a career in robotics after high school.

“Where we’re at in Ohio, there are six robotics companies. There’s a huge market around here, from car plants to mom-and-pop businesses,” Short said.

This year, the robotics team competed for the first time in the VEX Robotics Competition.

“It’s the largest robotics competition in the world,” Good said.

On Jan. 29, Port Clinton High School hosted a VEX Robotics Competition. The event, which marked the first time the school hosted any robotics competition, drew competitors from several area schools, including Norwalk, Margaretta and Monroeville.

All of the Robo-Skins Robotics Teams’ experiences set a strong foundation for next year’s competitions.

“We had a really good year, being our first year,” Short said.

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