Hargrave’s Center for Integrated Studies (CIS) students have opportunities to engage many different subjects in a boy’s
boarding school environment. Besides the Core Science courses (thematically integrated with Cultural Studies and Language Arts), the Academy’s 7th and 8th grade Cadets have the opportunity to use two robotics platforms to develop or pursue passions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
In the elective Robotics course, the Lego Mindstorms NXT platform is used to encourage students to solve a series of problems by using a systematic process to formulate a workable solution. Cadets will use processes such as computer programming, logical thought, mechanical and building skills, time management, and teamwork to design a robot to complete an assigned task in a certain amount of time over an assigned schedule.
As an extracurricular activity or club, CIS Cadets team up with a few high school cadets in preparation for regional, state, and national competition using the VEX the robotics design platform. Beyond science and engineering principles, the VEX Robotics projects encourage teamwork, leadership and problem solving. VEX is a robotics design system that is more advanced than the NXT system and a great "next-level" competition beyond First Lego League.
Depending on Cadet interests, VEX can be used with 3D modeling software to build digital prototypes as well as introduce students to the use of programming languages beyond object-oriented languages.This makes for an easy transition to and from languages like Visual BASIC.
Besides being fun and ‘cool’ for the Cadets, what does this mean? STEM provides a Hargrave Cadet a practical application for his math and science schoolwork. It gives purpose to the lessons and challenges his problem solving abilities.