Robotics Class Interview with Ms. Ayala!


Abdullah Hashimi, Contributor

The New Dealer had an amazing interview with Ms. Ayala, a teacher at FDR teaching robotics. Robotics is a very interesting and unique class offered at FDR. The New Dealer aimed to highlight this unique part of FDR and inform the students of what exactly the class is about. Ms. Ayala is very passionate about her work and bringing students who are interested, into Robotics. In this interview, we discussed the specifics of the class, and its importance to both students and teachers.

The New Dealer: What types of activities do you perform in this class?

Ms. Ayala: It is a very project-based class. First, the students build the robot, and that entails a few things. They learn all the parts, and then, they learn all their functions. After the building of the robot, they learn how to drive the robots with a joystick. The driving helps them learn to control the left and right sides of the robots. They learn to control the motor and speed as well. After learning how to drive the robots with the joysticks, we move on to programming. Programming is a major part of the class, it’s where they make the robot move, turn, change speeds, and do various other tasks.

The New Dealer: The class definitely seems to be far from boring or one-sided. Which leads me to ask, as a teacher, what attracted you to teach Robotics?

Ms. Ayala: I liked that it was a fun and relaxing class, it wasn’t too content-based. In a class like this, I’m not teaching to a test. Like I said before, it is very project-based and just generally fun. It’s a very different class, in that the kids almost “play.” It’s more engaging for everyone involved.

 The New Dealer: I can tell that the class really enables kids creativity in a way. It seems like a great class, so how are students chosen to be in this class? Can any students take it?

Ms. Ayala: FDR has various academies students can apply for. Students have to apply, I believe, as a freshman. They would have had to apply to the Robotics academy. If a student wanted to apply after enrollment to the class, then I believe they could do so, as long as there is room in the program. 

FDR offers the four year “STEAM Robotics and Programming Academy” to  freshmen who apply for the program.

 The New Dealer: Alright! My next question is, what skills does Robotics provide for kids in the future?

Ms. Ayala: Robotics class provides kids with skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, patience, and communication. They learn to work with their groups in order to create their robots effectively.

The New Dealer: It definitely looks to be a rewarding class. So how important would you say Robotics is in relation to other subjects available?

Ms. Ayala: I believe that it is extremely important, especially in this day and age. There are so many advances in this field, with engineering, and the sciences. STEM is an ever-evolving field. Like your Science and Math classes, Robotics offers kids a deeper understanding of these courses and provides hands-on experience.

The New Dealer: What are the biggest challenges teaching this class?

Ms. Ayala: As a result of the class not being so content-based, and being more free and fun, it is more difficult to control. You need to make sure the students take it seriously since ints project-based, and they have more freedom. It is not very individualized, with them being in groups every day, so I have to manage all of that.

The New Dealer: Yeah I understand how that would make it harder to control the class. You have to make sure that while the students are having fun, they are staying organized and doing their work consistently. Finally, my last question for you is, what is your favorite thing about teaching robotics?

Ms. Ayala: Similarly to how the kids feel very relaxed in the class, I also feel really relaxed during the class. I feel as if all the kids are very interested in the class, and that makes it that much better to teach. It feels more rewarding teaching kids who have fun and enjoy their class. I can see the difference between Robotics and Math, because I used to be a Math teacher. The attitude of kids towards Math and Robotics is very different.

I would like to thank Ms. Ayala for agreeing to take part in this interview with The New Dealer. It offered incredible insight into the Robotics program at FDR, and all the benefits, it has for the students who take part in it.