The Southside Automated Machines SAM Team is Southside High School's
award-winning extra-curricular Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, (STEM) and
Computer Science club.
Although SAM Team members have been a major force in
our regional science fair, we're not about competitions. We're
about inventing, designing, and building useful devices that give
students real world experience in the innovation process.
We have worked on may robotics projects but are not
actually a robotics team. We work on a diversity of projects that depend
on the funding and interests of the moment.
SAM Team is an extension of our classrooms. Although
actual construction takes place as an extra-curricular activity, SAM
projects are also pursued and discussed in the classroom whenever it
relates to the curriculum. SAM project help show students how their
classroom knowledge can actually be applied.
The team got its start in the 2004-2005 school year
thanks to a $10,000 grant from LemelsonMIT to use for building a
prototype stair climbing robot designed to carry firefighting equipment.
The inspiration for the project came from images of firefighter trekking
upstairs laden with equipment following the 9-11 attacks on the Twin
Over the years, the SAM Team has designed and built
numerous projects including: SAM Jr.--a desktop computer/robot that
drives itself around, WindSAM--a 22 ft long wind tunnel (the giant
orange object in many of our pictures), and TeleSAM--a mini radio
As you may have noticed, all our projects are called
SAMs in honor of the team's name. Our trademark
logo is a representation
of one of the tri-wheels used on FireSAM, the original robot that got us
In the spring of 2011, thanks to the generous donation of
several G1 Android phones, our IB Computer Science students (one to two
years of computer science beyond AP Computer Science) began programming
them. This has led into our latest venture, the AndSAM project--an
effort to bring Android phones into STEM and computer science classes as
tools for learning.
Over the years, the SAM team has included students from over a
dozen different countries representing every continent except
Australia and Antarctica. It has been and continues to a highly
diverse group that reflects the diverse nature of the Southside High
The SAM team brings this highly diverse group of students, from
many different backgrounds and cultures, together in a common
While the group typically has more guys than gals, as can be seen
from the picture, many young women also participate.
The SAM Team's Mission Statement
To experience and better understand the innovation process--the
type that might be used for a business start up--by developing new
21st century technology for STEM and Computer Science classrooms and
other useful applications as they are identified.
increase the knowledge, technical skills, and practical experience of
its members in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and
Computer Science related disciplines.
use this experience for promoting STEM and Computer Science learning activities beyond our classrooms through presentations, web pages, and other forms of outreach.