The Center Grove robotics club isn’t just for teens who understand engineering or like to build machines — and they can prove it.
Last summer, some of the members of the Red Alert Robotics team were talking about ideas to expand the robotics team. They came up with an idea to write a book about safety while building.
They will print 150 copies of their book, “Ryan the Raccoon and the Terrific Treehouse.” The book depicts a raccoon whose animal friends give him safety tips when building a tree house, such as to wear safety goggles and gloves
Their creation will be in the libraries at Center Grove elementary schools and in local libraries. Teens from competing teams at statewide and international robotics competitions will get copies.
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“We figured when you think of robotics, you think of the robot, but there is this whole business side,” senior Tommy Ramirez said. “We thought a book could easily be done.”
The Red Alert Robotics team has dozens of students who work on a robot, programming it to complete a task set out by STEM educators. They then compete at statewide and national competitions.
Other students have jobs away from the building of the robot, such as marketing and community outreach.
Teens wanted to write a book that could bring awareness of the robotics team.
Building the robot is only one small aspect of being on the robotics team, said students and adult team volunteer Sharon Baxter.
Center Grove’s team has won awards for their community outreach. They have demonstrated their robot in libraries and ran a robot camp.
Their whole goal is to further science, technology and mathematics education overall.
A book fits right into that goal, Baxter said.
“The book is a way to expand our outreach program,” she said. “We need to increase the importance of STEM in our society.”
Students worked to come up with a plot and decided safety education was a good bet for their target audience of young elementary school students.
Junior Amber Turner began illustrating the story on her tablet, taking about two weeks to draw what the animals should look like and then inputting the drawings in a program.
An online publishing company will print the books for the teens. They opted to pay the $300 out of the club’s budget that comes from member dues, senior Hailey Rose said.
“This is a way that we can reach the community and promote STEM,” she said.
STEM isn’t all about using the scientific method to build a robot, Ramirez said.
Club members have to market the robot, promote the robot and be involved in the community.
The book will show people more interested in art or who have other talents that the club has a place for them, Ramirez said.
“There are so many talents in the club outside engineering,” he said.
When people ask why the robotics team is writing a book, Ramirez said “I always shrug at them and ask why not.”
Students are already planning sequels.
Next year, Ryan Raccoon may have a book about joining Red Alert.
“This book is actually putting (STEM) in the hands of the students,” Baxter said.