CVHS Robotics Club Introduces Robotics to Elementary Students


Kayla Katounas

Centreville’s Robotics Club has started a month-long robotics club at Bull Run Elementary School to “introduce and explore concepts of robotics, guiding [students] but allowing for their own exploration,” according to Centreville Robotics electrical lead Dev Rashie.

The club launched on February 10th of this year, and will end on March 10th, with plans to return next school year. It was intended to be “an introductory experience into the STEM field,” but they have plans to return in the fall with a course “to explore the field of robotics more closely,” says Rashie. 

The idea to create a program at Bull Run came after some of the club was invited to help with other service opportunities in the school, and wanted the opportunity to “introduce robotics to elementary schoolers and give them a strong foundation in engineering early on,” said chief outreach officer Parvi Chadha. To start the club, Chadha “reached out to the Bull Run PTA President” to “work out the logistics” for the club. 

PTA President Jackie Katounas described the steps of introducing a new club to the elementary school. First, she “put them in touch with [the] Vice President of Programs to start the process to make them official with FCPS,” which required paperwork and background checks of everyone involved. When the club was approved, it was advertised in the school’s newsletter and on its social media sites, where it “was full very quickly.”

During meetings, students have been introduced to the robot design process and are learning how to make their own First Lego League robots. They then learn how to program these robots using block programming. Bull Run PTA member Tiffany Meadows has a fourth grader in the club. She said that her son has “been interested in robots for some time,” and she “like[s] that this club is advancing his knowledge on the topic, by showing them design, coding, and more.” 

According to the PTA, the club has been extremely well received. “Parents and students are thrilled,” said Jackie Katounas. Tiffany Meadows recalled that the PTA “had so many emails asking if we could have more spots, when it would be coming back, etc.” Meadows continued by saying “students and parents are very eager to learn more about coding, robots and the engineering process as it is so relevant to today’s students and the world.” Robotics is the first club Bull Run Elementary has had in partnership with CVHS, but Katounas has made it clear that Bull Run “would love to continue to build partnerships with the high school.”

The club’s success can likely be attributed to the high school student’s passion for the topic and helping the students. “My favorite part of working with the elementary school students is working through problems and guiding them until they reach that ‘aha’ moment. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see them understand the concepts behind the larger product!” said Dev Rashie. 

Parvi Chadha says “it’s important to get students involved in robotics so that they can see the other side of STEM outside the classroom, it’s not just doing math problems or memorizing facts. Robotics gives students an opportunity to learn hands-on and better understand the engineering design process and learn about electrical and mechanical machinery.”

Rashie encourages interested students to join Centreville Robotics because it “is an amazing opportunity to experience and face industry level challenges in engineering, programming, business, marketing and much more. The program forces you to think logically and build social skills as it’s very much a team based activity. And of course, it’s an amazing addition to college apps!”

PTA President Jackie Katounas wants “to send a huge thank you to each and everyone in the CVHS Robotics Club” because “their generosity of providing this club for free and donating their time means a lot to our students.” Students, parents, and staff alike are all looking forward to seeing more robotics in Bull Run’s future.