The robots are designed to compete in various interschool tournaments, and the dedication shown by their creators is beginning to pay off.

Robotics teacher Michael Horn says the students are achieving impressive things.

“The robot the Year 10s have built is pretty elaborate. 

“Over their three and a half years now, they’ve learnt a lot about gear change,” he says.

“They’ve got gear change going, they’ve got a slip gear operating, a ... kind of mechanism to fire balls at some flags that they had to hit;  there’s an arm raising up to lift these caps – it’s pretty impressive what they accomplish.”

Horn runs the robotics club with two other teachers, Ita Altas and Jake Stirkul.

He says the club will be looking to expand next year, building off the enthusiasm of its current students.

“We’re looking to expand the club into Year 11 next year, getting more students from our other junior campus, and increasing collaboration across the campuses through that would be excellent.”

Among the first to join the club was Year 10 student Spencer Vaughan, who is now well into his fourth year building robots.

“The reason I joined was because I was very interested in STEM ... and I really wanted to find something to get involved with where I could use these skills and develop them, and learn more about just how things work and how to put things together,” he says.

Vaughan says the design stage takes up much of the club’s time.

“There’s a lot involved in doing the robots, there’s a lot of planning especially, so we usually spend maybe a few hours, whether at school or at home, just looking at possible designs and ways to tackle problems.

“So, for example, picking up the caps or finding a way to intake the balls and launch them, that takes up quite a large chunk of the time we spend building.

“As for the actual building, it’s more or less putting that thought into practice and actually making something out of those ideas that we have.”

Moving forward, one of Horn’s key priorities is getting more girls involved in the club.

“Robotics in general, I know the elective subject tends to attract overwhelmingly male students, and kind of evening out that balance is something I’m trying to find ways to do,” he says.

“We do have some Year 7 girls –  we’ve got girls in all our teams actually, but more and more in Year 7 I think we’re getting an even balance and if we can maintain that, that would be excellent.”

One of those Year 7 girls recently won an award for autonomous programming, for work done on her first ever build.

“All the competitions are split into a section where the robot is supposed to operate autonomously, so the programming there is a lot more challenging and ... extensive, and a section where it’s driver- controlled,” Horn says.

“So, a girl there got [an] autonomous program written on the day, which doesn’t tend to happen in Year 7, so she won an award for the programming in that pre-season game.”