How the future of manufacturing fits into high schools
In early May, in a classroom at Anna High School, five seniors focused on controlling a canary yellow robotic arm. They took turns tapping code into a pendant connected to the arm.
Their assignment was to make the arm grab and move a bunch of AA batteries, one by one, from one box to another. Along the way, the arm was supposed to circle each battery inside an empty Folgers coffee canister, then return it to its original position without knocking any over.
Something in their code was off, though, and a few of the batteries wobbled and fell. The students, who were learning about industrial robots and other technologies used in advanced manufacturing, took the hiccup in stride, examining lines of code for errors and cracking jokes. Their teacher, K. C. Needles, offered encouragement, but didn’t tell them how to fix their mistake.