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Goessel science classes to build light-eating robots

Staff writer

Thanks to a $3,000 grant from Westar Energy, Donna O’Neill’s physical science and physics classes at Goessel High School will have the opportunity to build solar-powered robots from scratch. The STEM, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics grant, is the largest amount Westar has awarded to any one applicant.

O’Neill applied for the grant last spring. She hopes every one of her students can make a robot. The simple bots will be made from “technoscrap,” parts from old or unused electronics, such as CDs and VCRs. They will incorporate biology, electronics, aesthetics, and mechanics, called BEAM robotics.

The robots will be called photovares because they will use light as their source of energy for movement. They will use simple analog circuits instead of microprocessors.

“It’s almost like making a motherboard for a computer,” O’Neill said. “Students will follow schematics, but they can branch out and build their own system. It is low energy, so it is not dangerous. I’m excited about the possibilities.”

O’Neill teaches science in grades seven through 12.

Last modified Oct. 23, 2014

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