For students in Grades 7 & 8

Great Bots of Fire is a program designed for Grade 7 & 8 students (boys & girls) who are interested in participating in the area of mechatronics robotics. We will use the VEX IQ robotics system and advanced students may get a chance to help our Academy teams with VEX EDR robots.

This after-school program provides students the ability to build robots in a team environment, while learning a variety of skills.  While not a pre-requisite, Big Bad Bot Builders provides a good foundation for entry into this program and extends opportunity to enter a competitive robotics environment through some local competition.

Great Bots of Fire is not a pre-requisite to the West Vancouver Schools Premier Mechatronics Robotics Academy Grades 9-12.  It will, however, provide some links and interactions between the two programs. As students move to Grade 9 and beyond, the Premier Mechatronics Robotics Academy is the district’s way of providing a program for students registered full time in one of our secondary schools, the opportunity to work in an area of continued interest and passion.


Day/Time: Tuesday or Thursday, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Start Date: September 14, 2021
End Date: June 23, 2022
Location:  West Vancouver Secondary School

Students interested in this course must first fill out the Student Information Form to receive a full application package.

TeacherLocationCostPlease fill out form
Todd AblettWest Vancouver Secondary School$2500 ($250 per month)Student Information Form

Refund Policy: If a student withdraws, a fee total of $500 must be provided to cover the cost of the VEX IQ Robotics Kit.

Registration & Process for Selection

Registration Opens:        January 4, 2021
1.  Complete & Submit the online Student Information Form

2. Immediately following that online submission of the Student Information Form, submit the students most recent report card. We use this report card to review evidence of good to excellent academic progress. The ability of students to listen and follow instructions, complete tasks assigned and work well with others is important for success in this program. Furthermore, we are looking for students who are both respectful and responsible.

The Process:

This is a one-year program for the students.  Students who are eligible (e.g., grade level) to return to the program for a second year, must communicate this interest to both the classroom teacher AND the academy office by the end of the first week of January.  Students who are registered in the program for ‘the current school year’ and request to return for a second year, will receive confirmation from the academy office by January 15.


Todd Ablett

Todd Ablett

2015 – Teacher at West Vancouver Secondary School
2000 – 2015 – Began teaching basic robotics in his classroom

Realized that competitive robotics engaged students who were considering career paths that required a strong background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Provided education, instruction & coaching to over 70 students per year
Coached up to 20 competitive robot teams each year
Qualified and attended the VEX Robotics World Championships since 2007

2012 – Won the VEX Robotics World Championship title winning over teams from countries that included United States, Australia, Singapore, China and the United Kingdom

Dr. Mahesh Chugani

Dr. Mahesh Chugani is an Electronics Engineer who has worked as a Software Engineer at National Instruments (Austin, Texas, USA), and as Director of Support and Training at Momentum Data Systems (Huntington Beach, California, USA).

He holds the following credentials:

(a) Diploma in Electronics and Radio Engineering from Cusrow Wadia Institute of Technology, Pune, India.

(b) Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications from College of Engineering, Pune, India.

(c) M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA.

He has authored numerous technical publications, and has also coauthored two books.

Recently selected to be on the Educational Advisory Committee of Canada’s ICTC (Information and Communications Technology Council) Digital DASH initiative.