Robotics by Luis Daniel and Kalyani Weiss

Written by Ian Cuevas

January 24, 2022

HS siblings and founding members of the Robotics elective, Luis Daniel and Kalyani Weiss, take a moment to introduce and describe the program – now in its third year of existence at The Waldorf School of San Diego.

Team Robowaves 18236 is made of six students from the Waldorf School of San Diego High School. Luis Daniel, with the help of his sister Kalyani created team in 2019. Luis Daniel, who had experience being in an FRC team in Israel, wanted to give others the same experience in his new school. We started this team to bring more STEM into our high school in an engaging and fun way through FIRST. We want to teach our members the skills needed both in the robotics world and in everyday life, such as teamwork, gracious professionalism, communication, time management.

We meet 2-4 times a week from 3:00-6:00. We rotate meeting locations between our team members houses. In addition to our meetings after school, we also meet during the robotics elective we made.

Robowaves use a variety of programs for their projects.  The team not only work on robots for competition, but also on marketing and design.  For computer-aided design (CAD), data management and analytics, specifcally, the team uses the Onshape software system.

The Following photos exemplify the various STEAM skills practiced and exercised by the team.

“I’ve learned how to build things from parts and rules that are given to you. It all starts with an idea. And then you get together with your team mates and figure out how to make it happen.”

Valter, mechanic and lead programmer

“I was never a robotics person until I began supporting my brother in creating the team. As a person interested in math, physics, and art, robotics was an excellent place for me to develop and find a way to combine my inter-disciplinary interests. Robotics involves a huge amout of creativity. We have to design a functioning robot from scratch. Its a lot of trial and error but each prototype is more creative and fine-tuned than the previous one. As an artist it is fascinating for me to see ideas sketched on paper come to life in a tangible way. 

One of my favorite parts of robotics is strategizing, a beautiful mix of math, physics and collaboration. A huge part of robotics is teamwork, not only within your team but with other teams as well. In a competition you form alliances with other teams and create a game strategy based on your respective robots. During a robotics meet each team has their own pit. Its a great learning opportunity to go to different team pits to share knowledge and tips, help out and learn more about other teams’ robots as each one represents a unique way of solving the challenge given at the beginning of the season”

Kalyani, co-captain

FTC is a wonderful experience. At the beginning of the season FIRST releases a challenge then the team creates a mechanism from scratch to solve the challenge.  At each stage, you have to solve new issues that come up. It’s a lot of trial and error. As a team, we go through different prototypes (just recently we designed and built over 5 prototypes in 2 days for a new mechanism), ideas, solutions, and this allows us to grow together as a team. 

You see math and physics come alive in a real-life setting. For example, when we needed to figure out how much torque a motor needs to have for a certain mechanism or when we try to figure out ways to fit mechanisms in the restricted space. Many of the robot pieces are made from scratch, designed in CAD and 3D printed, or simply manufactured by hand.  It is really a hands-on collaborative experience.”

Luis, co-captain

The team has been competitive for a few years now.  Most recently, last January 15th, the WSSD Robotics team participated in their first meet at Poway HS. Fourteen other high school robotics teams participated. The Robowaves played 6 qualification games, each time forming an alliance with a different participating team.The team finished 3rd!

To wrap up the day, the team visited the automata exhibit at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

The team has also, last November, the Cal Coast Cares Foundation Educator Grand award for $1500.

We hope to see even more success from our WSSD Robotics team and further STEAM-related curriculum in the future.

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