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The Expect More Arizona Excellence Tour: Robotics at Mogollon High School creates excitement for STEM learning

At a small school in rural Arizona, high school students are learning to work with the most advanced technology through an after-school robotics club and competitions.

Formed after a Mogollon High School student learned about another school’s club and expressed interest in creating one at his high school, the robotics club has already seen great success, after only three years. In fact, the team placed in the top 12 for the FIRST Tech Challenge World Finals just last year.

Through the FIRST Tech program, students are challenged to complete tasks, using a robot that they have designed, built and programmed. Some recent challenges include picking up small objects and shooting them into a basket, collecting one larger ball and getting it into a basket, and changing the color of lights that are placed around the challenge area.

There are typically about 10 students in the club, who gain skills that range from public speaking and fundraising to math and social media management. It’s building camaraderie among the students and even pride for the whole school. In fact, the effort has been so successful that the district has even expanded robotics instruction to include local elementary schools.

The robotics club’s success comes in part from community support – the whole region has supported the team, including the local American Legion, APS and individual community members. Trips to competitions and even supplies would not be available without the generous support of their neighbors.

After school clubs and teams are especially meaningful to students in rural areas such as this one since many communities don’t benefit from the resources of larger cities, such as the YMCA and other enrichment opportunities. The robotics club at Mogollon High is getting youth excited about education – and careers – in STEM.

If you would like to learn more, or get involved, visit the team’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mhsjaegers/.

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