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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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Henry Timmer-Hackert
Henry Timmer-Hackert
Print Assistant Opinion Editor

(He/him) Henry is a sophomore at West High and ready for his first year on staff. He's the assistant opinion editor for the paper. Outside of West Side Story Henry runs with the cross country and track...

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STEM for Youth and FRC host robotics program at Wickham

STEM for Youth and FIRST Robotics Competition joined forces to lead a hands-on robotics program at the Wickham Elementary Before and After School Program May 22.
STEM+for+Youth+members+Solomon+Shaffer+26%2C+Kate+Gantenbein+26+and+Natalia+Escatel+26+interact+with+Wickham+students+as+they+attempt+to+build+a+sumo+bot.+
Catherine Xu
STEM for Youth members Solomon Shaffer ’26, Kate Gantenbein ’26 and Natalia Escatel ’26 interact with Wickham students as they attempt to build a sumo bot.

An extensive array of LEGOs, the hum of motors and Taylor Swift music fill the Wickham Elementary gym during their Before and After School Program — an unusual combination for an ordinary Wednesday. An estimated 30 elementary school students participated in a joint science program led by 18 STEM for Youth and FIRST Robotics Competition members May 22. The STEM program was robotics-themed, with FRC providing multiple LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kits for the students to build. 

The objective of the program was to engineer a motorized sumo bot in around 45 minutes. Each team’s goal was to be the last robot standing when going head-to-head against another robot. 

FRC and STEM for Youth member Tadamichi Goto ’26 believes that robotics allows kids to engage with one another while having fun. 

“Introducing kids to STEM using LEGOs is always a wonderful thing, because they get to do something fun while wracking their brains,” Goto said. “The excitement little kids have is always infectious.”

Goto also finds that early exposure to robotics promotes interest in such programs throughout later years. 

“Robotics is also good for introducing [students’] parents to the world of EduBotics (educational robotics), especially FIRST,” Goto said. 

The robotics session lasted around an hour, and prizes were awarded to the winning teams at the conclusion of the program. The event marked STEM for Youth’s final science program for the 2023-24 school year. 

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Shanza Sami
Shanza Sami, Reporter
(She/her) Shanza Sami is a sophomore at West High. This is currently her first year on staff as a reporter. Outside of the journalism room, you can find Shanza biking, perusing through a new book or adding songs to her Spotify playlist.
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