Members of the Class of 2020 will be participating in a brand-new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) course during the second semester: Robotics.

Offered by veteran math and technology instructor, Dave Lepage, this introductory robotics course will allow students to become familiar with both automation and programming through hands-on learning experiences that include the use of LEGO Mindstorms and JD Humanoid
Robots.

Both the LEGO Mindstorms and JD Humanoid allow students to develop programmable robots and leverage both their pragmatic and artistic creativity. The devices, which rely on proper coding and programming, will allow students to customize the robots they build using complex technologies, such as object tracking, speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. The JD Humanoid can even dance and perform gymnastics if programmed properly!

The Robotics course will take place in the production and innovation suite, located in the Dr. Cyrus T. Hamlin STEM Study Center. As mentioned in the recently published BA Today, Bridgton Academy’s biannual magazine, Lepage created this space to give both students and faculty an environment in which to experiment and grow in their learning, while also providing
a space for more hands-on discovery and collaborative creativity.

Lepage currently holds the Laferriere Chair for Excellence in Teaching, a professional development award funded by the Barr family (Past Parents ’99; Andrew Barr ’99) that honors a faculty member who possesses the qualities of its namesake educator: the mastering of one’s discipline, the fostering and development of academic courage in one’s students, and a genuine concern for the well-being of the young men entrusted to one’s care.

The learning suite, LEGO Mindstorms, and JD Humanoid Robots were made possible through both the Laferriere Chair for Excellence in Teaching and the Bridgton Academy 1808 Bright Futures Endowment, funded by a group of anonymous donors.

In addition to the hands-on approach to programming, students in this inaugural robotics course will learn about automation in the workplace, the future of robotics, design, function, kinesthetic movement, and programming structures. The class period will focus heavily on labs, with an emphasis on an experiential learning model.

We look forward to bringing you more updates on this exciting addition to Bridgton Academy’s curriculum. In the meantime, be on the lookout next time you visit campus—there just might be a robot or two eager to greet you!