On Friday, March 8, the Brownwood Intermediate School robotics team toured the Kohler plant to see examples of how robotics is used in engineering. “They were able to see the robots aid production at Kohler, and see how those robots are used in real life processes,” said Tiffany Baker, a Brownwood Intermediate School teacher and robotics team sponsor. “This trip provided a way for the kids to be exposed to how the engineering concepts they are learning are being utilized in processes at Kohler.”
Kohler engineers Jason Abbott, Megan Wilson, Maddy Bowles, Tim and Jodi Dobmeier, Jonathan Zilinski, and Jacob Ivy have been volunteering their time this school year to help teach engineering concepts to the students. “The Kohler people are serving as mentors to the kids,” said Baker. “They are guiding them in problem-solving and helping them reach objectives by outlining the rules they are given, and asking questions like, ‘What have I already tried?’ and ‘What doesn’t work?’”
Students toured the plant, learned about the programming of the robots, and were able to take home some souvenirs. “They were able to witness how Kohler uses it’s robots for the glazing process and assembly,” said Baker, adding that the experience also helped students understand that robots can help manage production and even reduce worker injury. “They also got to keep pieces of clay that were ‘mess-ups’, which was really cool for the kids. They enjoyed that.”
Baker is one of four Brownwood Intermediate School sponsors for the robotics program that spends time accompanying students on trips, keeping them on task, and helping them solve robotics problems. Baker also noted that the tour experience helps students consider whether or not they would want to pursue robotics as a career.
Additional Brownwood Intermediate School sponsors for the robotics team are Alysbelle Shero, Laura Scantling and Chioe Ethridge.