Student Builds Remote-Controlled Mars Rover

In the St. Stephen’s “Projects in Science and Technology” course, students research, build and document a project of their own choosing. The overarching goal for the year-long endeavor is for each student to make a working prototype of their chosen project. The teacher helps to validate that each project is achievable, as well as ensure that students learn relevant scientific theories and apply appropriate technologies to the project. The teacher-student team also works together to establish biweekly outcomes using a sprint-based methodology. Students take ownership of the project which, in turn, helps them develop the habits, skills and affinity for lifelong learning.
As an example, Max Schaffer, a member of the Class of 2021, elected to build a remote-controlled rover similar to those used by NASA on Mars. Schaffer researched and built the body, suspension, computer control, power system, camera and remote control system. This sent him down a multidisciplinary path involving mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science. He used Trello software to manage his sprints in which he broke down his ideas into two-week stints of itemized tasks. Highlights of his project included constructing the signature rocker-bogie suspension system, implementing computer vision on a single board Raspberry Pi computer, and overcoming the challenges of delivering power to the various components. 
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