Friday, March 31, 2017

Robotomies recap from Rhode Island competition

Thanks to Mr. Rocheleau for all his hard work and leadership with this group of students.  Below is a recap on last weekend's competition.  Also, here is the link to the website where you can learn more about the program and see pictures from their competitions.  They will be demonstrating the robot at the Florence Roche's Science Fair.

The students made a number of improvements on the robot after the first competition which would have been great, however in a pre-competition practice match another robot slammed into ours knocking our ball hopper loose and then another robot ran over the part shattering it.  The students worked half the day fixing it so part of our functionality was compromised for several matches.  On Sunday we began having trouble with our climbing ability – something we had done excellently with since the beginning.  With little time to fix it we were unable to climb for the remaining three matches.  This inability made us undesirable as a finalist and so even though we finished in 18th place (24 robots compete in the finals) we were not selected.  The students were disappointed but still proud that they accomplished so much despite the setbacks.  It’s tough to know you were so close to finishing much higher and being able to compete in the finals, but that’s the nature of the competition – it doesn’t take much to make a big difference!

The kids did an amazing job and it’s worth noting that our team was awarded the “White Gloves Award” which “recognizes excellence in student led teams”.  It is given to two teams where students control all phases of the design and build season.  When you look around in the pits it can be very obvious that many teams are not only led by adults, but they are primarily responsible for the build as well.  Our team has always prided itself on the level of control granted to students.  Our mentors support and assist our students.  Right or wrong it is their robot and the level of pride and ownership they have in it is apparent by how quickly and overwhelmingly the students jump in to fix or improve the robot in between matches.  

This weekend we functioned like a team again and that had a lot to do with our improvement over last competition.  We are now looking forward to attending “Battle Cry at WPI”, a post-season matchup in May which gives the teams another opportunity to compete with their robot.  We also have some repairs to make before this Saturday when we will be demonstrating the robot at Flo Ro’s science Fair.  Several of our students are looking forward to showing off the robot to our future members!

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