Robotics students in Ridgefield lead SpudBot Academy


Students from Ridgefield High School’s Steel Ridge Robotics program took on methodical planning as they prepared to teach a large group of fifth to eighth graders during a day camp.

At the SpudBot Academy, the high school students teach the younger kids about STEAM, otherwise known as science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The day camps, which are held a few times each year, give the older students an opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, while hopefully inspiring younger students to later join Steel Ridge Robotics.

“As they discuss lesson plans for the camp, they choose the kinds of fun, hands-on activities that got them interested in STEAM to begin with: navigating a blindfolded partner through a painter’s tape maze, and building structural towers from paper and marshmallows,” stated a news release from the district. “Then they build these activities into more advanced applications of logic and skill, like programming Arduinos and designing 3D models with Tinkercad.”

Team members on the other side of the classroom worked to design a specialized bracket to send to the CNC engraver as mentors stood behind the computer, offering suggestions.

“But it’s clearly student-led, and they’re figuring it out as they go,” stated the release.

The build lab at Wisdom Ridge Academy features state-of-the-art machinery like the robots Steel Ridge Robotics has built in various stages of completion. The group builds a new robot each year for the FIRST robotics competition, which gives them six weeks to design robots that complete specific tasks in an arena.

“Steel Ridge Robotics students won’t learn the theme of the 2023 competition for a few weeks yet. At that point, they’ll take a break from leading SpudBot Academy for a marathon of planning, building, and testing their custom-designed robot,” stated the release. “But for now, their main task is to figure out how to keep the attention of a big group of younger students for several hours. They gather again to divide up responsibilities, joking about who the best person is for each task. It’s a learning experience, but it’s also a good time, just like everything they do at Steel Ridge Robotics.”

For more information on SpudBot Academy, Steel Ridge Robotics, the FIRST competition, or to support the team through mentoring or sponsorship, go online to