Our Grandville robotics program is successful because we have our priorities straight. We create a fun environment where kids build and program cool stuff. We are committed to a program which makes science and technology tangible. The primary objective for the RoboDawgs is to maintain a robotics program this is nationally recognized for quality and integrity, where elementary and middle school students aspire to be RoboDawgs, students come to Grandville Public Schools to be part of the program, and colleges recruit RoboDawgs like they do top high school athletes.
To accomplish this, we:
- Improve the academic performance of all our students
- Teach our students to work as a team in the spirit of gracious professionalism
- Help all team members develop real-world engineering and technology skills
- Finish in the top half of all robots in the field competition at most robotics competition
- Graduate a large number of RoboDawgs into Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math programs at four-year universities
- Help all our students explore four-year college opportunities and apply for college scholarships
Our season will officially begin on Thursday, September 4 after school at our Robotics & Engineering Center. All interested students are invited to come attend orientation after school that day.
Our robotics calendar is built around two major, international programs. In the fall, we build and program robots to compete in the VEX Robotics Competition. This is the largest middle school and high school competition in the world – are we’re typically well ranked. There are more than a dozen RoboDawg VEX teams, and several have been ranked in the top 100 in the world over the last year. In the winter, we build and program robots to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition. This season is very demanding, with a high-intensity build period taking place from the first week of January through the middle of February. We compete as three FRC teams, and the teams take their robots out to compete all over North America during March and April. The RoboDawgs are one of the most highly decorated FRC programs in the world.
Our program continues to expand into new areas, and team members are encouraged to participate in as many of our special teams as they can. Our autonomous racing boats will run in the 5th annual Great American River race in October. RoboDawg high altitude research balloons will continue in most months of the year, and this year we’re launching new technology designed to help us achieve neutral buoyancy and long-distance sustained flight. The team built underwater rovers last spring, and we’ll be taking them out this year to explore new area lakes (and Lake Michigan). Our summer crew recently built the team’s first quadcopter, and we’ll be flying and competing with autonomous aircraft this year.
The RoboDawgs are recognized as leaders in after-school STEM education. Our technology platforms offer exceptional learning opportunities on land, in the water, and in the air. RoboDawgs compete and consistently win awards at events and tournaments all over North America. Most importantly, you will find RoboDawg graduates exceling in science, math, and engineering programs at major universities all over the country.
Robotics at Grandville High School is a demanding academic activity. We are very proud of our record of improving students’ grades, increasing their opportunities at colleges and universities, and helping them get significant scholarship money. Our team members have to maintain a 3.25 GPA and a C+ in every class to remain in good standing with the team. Our program has dedicated tutors for most subjects, and we run the now famous RoboStudyHall four nights a week.
Over the past few years the RoboDawgs have come a long way. In 2009, 24 students were cramped in a storefront retail space. Today through the generosity and support of our school district and a strong partnership with our community, there are 75 of us at work in our very own 10,000 square foot building a stone throws away from our high school. The Grandville High School South Campus Robotics and Engineering Center (the REC) is one of the focal points of our program. Previously an alternative high school, the building was closed in 2009 due to budget cuts. It has since been reopened and transformed into a center for science and engineering education. In a day and age when school buildings tend to close and stay closed, we consider this an accomplishment. We now have enough place to house our study hall, 3 FRC teams, VEX League competitions, FLL practices, high altitude balloon command center, team get-togethers, and practices for our autonomous boat competition. This season alone we’ve spent over 52,000 hours in the facility building robots, studying for tests, and making friends.