PCR Robotics Club

The PCR Robotics Club was started in 2012 to introduce all students at PCR from grades K through 6 who were interested to learn about the world of robotics. Membership is $20 per year and entitles student to attend monthly General Meeting where experts from the Robotics industry come to PCR to give talks about subjects related to the development and application of robotics. In the past the PCR Robotics Club has hosted speakers from:

  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory - The club has heard talks from experts with the Mars Science Laboratory (a.k.a. "Curiosity") rover mission, the Mars 2020 mission which will send the next-generation rover to Mars, and the Robosimian project, which developed a prototype limbed robot to aid disaster emergency responders.
  • iRobot - A researcher from iRobot, the leading US manufacturer of domestic helper robots, came to show PCR students the various civilian robotics products from iRobot, along with robots used for research.
  • USC Robotics Research Laboratory - Researchers from the USC Robotics Research Lab came and demoed several of their experimental robots including the NAO full-bodied humanoid robot that can respond to voice commands, as well as a quad copter that is part of the Autonomous Vehicle Aerial Tracking and Reconnaissance (AVATAR) project.
  • La Cañada High School Engineering Club - Students from the LCHS Engineering Club have twice come to JPL to demonstrate their Lego FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) robots.

In addition, the club has hosted a surgeon who uses the da Vinci robotics surgical system to help in Advanced Minimally Invasive General Robotic and Bariatric Surgery and a science fiction author who talked about the history of robots and the ethics of their use in our modern society.

To enroll in the PCR Robotics Club, sign up online here:



After-School Robotics Enrichment Classes

The PCR Robotics Club also sponsors two after-school enrichment classes for all PCR students. Junior Robotics is open to PCR Kindergarteners through 4th graders, and introduces younger students to robotics through the use of the Lego Education WeDo robotics kits. Introduction to Robotics is a more advanced class for 5th and 6th graders.

The Junior Robotics class is open to all PCR students from Kindergarten through 4th grade. Designed for children grades 2-5,  Lego Education WeDo is a learning solution that blends hands-on manipulatives with technology and curriculum to create a minds-on experience that is aligned with key educational standards and learning objectives. The class will be taught on Tuesdays from 3:00 to 4:30PM in the MPR beginning February 24, 2015. There is a $100 fee for the Junior Robotics class. The Junior Robotics class is limited to 20 students and requires one parent volunteer for every three students. Priority wil be given to children whose parents can volunteer in the class.

The WeDo project-based activities help build science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) knowledge while incorporating lessons in language arts. Working in pairs, Junior Robotics students will utilize their skills to create moving models, all while enhancing their creative and problem-solving abilities. If you would like your K through 4th grader to be considered for the Junior Robotics class, please register them online here:

Introduction to Robotics is designed for 5th and 6th graders. The 10-week course introduces students to building and programming robotics through hands-on construction and programming of Lego MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics kits. The class, which is limited to 24 5th and 6th grade students, allows students to work in pairs following a pre-designed computer-based curriculum in robotics developed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy. The course combines mathematics, engineering, science, computer programming, and logic to teach problem-solving skills useful in all aspects of school. The following concepts are taught:

  • Basic robot parts (e.g. motors, controllers, sensors, actuators)
  • Basic movement
  • Using sensors
  • Loops and switches
  • Basic programming principles

The Introduction to Robotics course is taught alongside the Junior Robotics course on Tuesdays from 3 to 4:30pm in the MPR. The first class will take place on February 24, 2015. There is a class fee of $100. To enroll your 5th or 6th grader in the Introduction to Robotics course, click on the link below:


Both classes are taught by Chris McDonald, who has taught robotics in the past, also coaches this year's FLL team, and taught the Introduction to Robotics course last Spring.


Robotics Competition Teams

Lastly, membership in the PCR Robotics Club allows students in grades 5 and 6 to register to be considered for selection on robotics competition teams. During the 2014-15 school year, the PCR Robotics Club fielded a team of six PCR students in the FIRST Lego League competition, which takes place in the Fall. In the past two years PCR has also fielded teams for the VEX IQ Challenge, which occurs in the Spring. The FLL team is led by PCR parent and coach Chris McDonald. The VEX IQ team is coached by Tracy Jeandron, who led the team in competition last Spring. The 2014-15 FLL season has concluded. However, enrollment for consideration to be on the 2015-16 FLL team will open later in the school year. There are only a limited number of spots on each competition team so registration is limited to students who will be in the 5th and 6th grade next school year, and there is a selection process since there are typically more students who sign up to be on a team than there are openings.