A new year and a new season of Elementary School robotics has gotten underway for the RoboRunners. This year I am excited to mentor a team that will compete in all three sessions of local competition.
Additionally, the team has decided to officially register with Vex IQ and compete in events downstate. We are the only local team to be doing this and we will face tough competition. All of the parents agreed it is a good experience for the kids, and everyone is very excited.
I am very excited to see the team build on all that they accomplished last year. It will be fun to see how they adjust to this year’s Vex IQ game.
Official Vex IQ Team
The official team number for the robotics club is #1313. The kids could not come up with a new name for the team, so they kept their name from last year – RoboRunners.
Coming back from last year’s team are Aislyn R, Austin T, Avery R, and Gabe N. Coming up as second graders are Gino M and Lillian G. We also added a fifth grader Valerie M. A big team!
Becoming More Competition Savvy
Due in large part to my involvement in Middle School Robotics, my understanding of competitive robotics has increased from last year. I am taking this knowledge and passing it on to the kids.
One of the major changes from last year is that the RoboRunners are making the engineering notebook a huge part of their club. Each practice, multiple students will record what they are going to work on, what they did work on, observations, tests, etc. They also do a lot of sketching of designs.
Another major change is that I am having them spend significant time analyzing the game and rules. This is helping them to set realistic goals and focus their efforts.
The RoboRunners also built two practice robots so that students not designing, building, writing, and drawing could practice driving. This turned out to be a great idea since the team’s main robot was not ready for their first match!
RoboRunners First Week of Practice
The first week (week and a half with a couple practices over break) has come to an end. The students accomplished a lot and did a lot of writing in their engineering notebooks.
Some of the highlights include:
- Deciding to go downstate to compete
- Registering the RoboRunners for official competition
- Analyzing the game
- Brainstorming ideas
- Building two practice robots for driving practice
- Sketching designs
- Trying out different designs
- Building a main robot
- Writing RobotC code for their robot
- Testing, testing, testing
- Deciding the main robot wasn’t ready for competition
- Modifying a practice robot to compete next week
- Driving practice galore