MS Robotics Sending Two Teams to States
One more team waiting to see if their points earn them State ticket as well
The Middle School VEX IQ Challenge competition season lasts from early September to February with States Championship in March, and Worlds hosted in April. This year’s VEX IQ Challenge is called Next Level, which is played on a 4’x8’ rectangular field and has two robots competing. They compete in a Teamwork Challenge as an alliance in 60-second-long teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points.
Each team also competes in the Robot Skills Challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible in a Driving Skills Matches, which is entirely driver controlled, and Programming Skills Matches, which tests the robot’s programming as an autonomous challenge.
The robotics program was spearheaded in 2014 by Ms. McCombes with 12 interested students building robots and competing with each other. It expanded to outside competition in 2015, with two teams attending Worlds, and continues to grow.
This year, there were five Middle School teams, with two all-girl teams – Circuit Breakers and Sassy Dragons! All five teams have competed locally at least three times and have won awards for Teamwork Challenge, STEM Research, the Amaze award, the Build award, and the Design award. So far, two teams, Circuit Breakers and R.O.A.D., have qualified for States and hope to earn a Worlds ticket at States in March. A third team has been working hard but just missed earning a state ticket, is hoping they might earn a third ticket based on their skills ranking. We’ll see!
The teams are:
Omorhovrose Utuama (Rovu)
Chi Zhang (Edison)
“I’m so proud of the students and what they have been able to accomplish,” said Ms. McCombes. “Robotics is about more than just wires and rods, STEM teaches students how to fail. That may seem counter intuitive – why would I want my students to fail? By students working through problems, collaborating, and independently making decisions to recover from a failed test or skill, they learn the most successful approach to STEM subjects far more effectively than if we simply tell them the final score. The result will be students who understand that many answers to today's pressing challenges require a trial-and-error approach.”
Congratulations to the teams on their hard work throughout the season. Best wishes to those teams going on to the next level of competition at States!