HS Mentoring Robotics Program

TPSF Summer Academy 2016

Week 1 Review

We have officially kicked off the 16-17 TUSD robotics season with our opening week of the TPSF Summer Academy. We have grown this year to include 5 robotics classes! These classes include:


Robotics 1: Incoming 4th and 5th graders learning to build robots with VEX IQ kits.

Robotics 1.5: Incoming 6th and 7th graders learning to build robots with VEX VDR kits.

Robotics 2: Four teacher selected students from each middle school to create next year's seed teams for competition.

Robotics 3: Incoming HS students who learn to mentor the other robotics classes, troubleshoot pneumatics equipment, practice programming, and prepare & design the upcoming competition season.

Preparing for the Competition Season

Each year the VEX and VEX IQ games change and we must prepare for the upcoming season. There are many boxes to unpack and game pieces to assemble. The HS mentors are vital to getting us ready! A huge THANK YOU to the Tustin Public Schools Foundation for purchasing our game pieces early so we can assemble and practice!

Building Communication Skills

Over the course of the program, students will learn how to become effective mentors. These skills not only help when working with elementary or middle school students, but transfer into the school year to create students who are better leaders and team members. Pictured below is an activity to help build skills in effective communication using Gummy Bears and toothpicks. Students must explain their design as the partner builds without showing their drawing. Here are some of the lessons we learned that can easily be used when helping to build robots:


-it helps to break down task into smaller steps

-body language like pointing helps

-it is best not to rush the builder

-the design does not always work as intended

-clues like color (or exact names of parts) are useful

-do not give too many steps at once

-find a pattern and repeat

Mentoring Makes a Difference

The elementary and middle school robotics students come to the TPSF Summer Academy with little to no experience. This can be very difficult for teachers to meet every students' needs when they are building a competitive robot in just four weeks. The high school mentors provide support for both teachers and students who will become the leaders of the TUSD robotics programs next year.

Troubleshooting Pnuematics

TUSD has purchased pnuematics equipment to potentially incorporate into our middle school and high school teams' robots next year. However, we need to first figure out how to use them! The troubleshooting teams will research, build, and test their designs to figure out the complicated pnuematic equipment. By the end of four weeks, the goal is for each team to create a Google Slide show presentation teaching their findings and communicating the results of their builds and the engineering design process through images and video.

Thank You!

I have already told the students that I could not run the TUSD Robotics program without their help. I appreciate all that they do every day! This is a great group of kids and I am looking forward to working with them this summer and into the school year.


Let me know if you have any questions. I hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend! We will not have class on Monday, but we WILL have class next Friday, July 8th.


Best Regards,


Cari Williams

TUSD Robotics Lead & HS Robotics Mentor Teacher

email: cwilliams@tustin.k12.ca.us

Check out the games for the 16-17 robotics season!

VEX IQ Challenge Crossover - 2016-2017 VEX IQ Challenge Game
VEX Starstruck - 2016-2017 VEX Robotics Competition Game