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8th Graders Tackle Robotics Obstacle Course

Eighth-grade students participate in VEX IQ at Cranberry High School under the direction of teacher Dan O’Brien. (By Merissa McCoy/Student contributor)

Student contributor

For the past two years, 8th-grade students in Dan O’Brien’s technology class have had the opportunity to take part in the VEX IQ program at Cranberry High School.

Within VEX IQ, students were assigned to groups and tasked with creating a robot that they would eventually use in a competition against their peers.

CHS was unable to run the competition this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and other hurdles, so students were instead given a smaller-scale obstacle course to take on.

Students competed in both hands-on and non-assisted challenges to figure out whose robot was the most efficient and which one had the best design. The goal of this assignment was to get students better acquainted with the engineering process and to inform students on how they could utilize this process in solving future problems.

“It takes some time and dedication to develop these skills, but the more they practice them, the better they get,” explained O’Brien, the science and technology instructor.

O’Brien may have been limited this year with what he and his students could do in terms of VEX IQ, but he has dedicated his time to give students the most authentic experience possible when challenged by the restrictions of the pandemic.


Devin Zerbe and Merissa McCoy are students at Cranberry High School and members of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications class.

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