Lightning Bots: Building the Future

Liberty’s first robotics club, Lightning Bots, take on the challenge of building robots and competing in competitions throughout eastern Iowa.

Kaylee Deisbeck, Social Media Chair


Liberty students are building the future: robots. Liberty’s first robotics club, Lightning Bots, has taken on the challenge of building their own robot and participating in competitions around eastern Iowa. Coding, tinkering, and designing, these students work to make the best robot possible.

Science teacher Sara Karbeling, and librarian Jan Smith formed the first robotics club at Liberty. After talking with a former colleague at West High School, Karbeling decided to begin Lightning Bots, the 2018-2019 school year. Facing the obstacles of never being a part of a robotics club has been a challenge for both students and advisors.

Senior Abhiskek Aryal is an active member of Lightning Bots, joining after enjoying his experiences in his Principles of Engineering class at West High School where he built small-scale robots. Aryal decided becoming a part of Lightning Bots would be a fun and similar experience. During club meetings, Aryal helps document and the build the robots. Here, he helps construct the robot and present building information at competitions.

“At first it was just the building the robot phase, but then as you get to know the people, the people who work there, and all their personalities, it’s pretty fun,” said Aryal, explaining why he likes robotics club.

Promise Elnour, senior, first became aware of robotics club at the club fair. She didn’t know if she had what it takes to be a part of the club, but after encouragement from Karbeling, she decided to join. Elnour is one of the members responsible for driving the robot during the meets.

“It really puts your knowledge to the test. It’s not just on an intellectual basis. You have to be creative, artistic, and a problem solver.” says Elnour.

The Lightning Bots have gone to two competitions so far this year. Both went well according to Elnour, but the first competition was a huge surprise for them

“We won four out of five matches which we didn’t expect at all,” says Elnour.

During competitions, teams are required to program their robot to move on its own and make their robot collect and move gold or silver blocks. This includes adding light sensors on the robot to distinguish different colors. The Lightning Bots originally had little to no experience with building robots so they are still getting used to meet expectations. Students have had to use online resources if they couldn’t find an answer to a question.

“All of our students are very resourceful to try and find that information. It has been challenging but I think with lots of support, it’s been positive,” says Karbeling.

The goal for the rest of the season is to equip the underclassmen on the team for next year. Karbeling encourages future students to get involved with Lightning Bots.

“It’s an opportunity for them to have a project and place that is beyond just the school day. Where they can feel ownership and they can really feel like they belong to this group,” says Karbeling.