NORTHFIELD — After more than a month of design, programming and prototype construction, Pioneer Valley Regional School’s engineering design students displayed their robotic fish feeders during the first-ever Engineering Expo last week.
The Engineering Expo showcased the work for other students and guest judges. This was the inaugural class of students for engineering design, after John Heffernan, a teacher in Pioneer’s Innovation Center and a former computer engineer, founded the class this year.
“I am proud of the way they combined what they have learned and I am impressed with their investment in the prototypes,” Heffernan said.
The students combined LEGO Education robotics equipment with other materials, such as wood or 3-D printed parts, to make an automatic fish feeder. The LEGO robotics gear was acquired with funding from the school budget and through rural aid.
Some fish feeder designs featured conveyer belt-style fish feeders, others used an auger-style dispensary and others created a pie wheel design to dispense a certain amount of food at a time. Juniors Henry Curtis and Lucas Kelton said they were required to use the LEGO engineering kit, with the computerized motor, but had freedom in their design.
“It was pretty creative,” Curtis said. “We could use any material to create the design we wanted.”