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Robotics Competitions Promote Teamwork

posted on June 26, 2013, under Education by

by Gladys Neigel

The Tech Geeks Robotics team from Forest Lake Education Center (FLEC) and the RoboJags Robotics team from Orlando Junior Academy (OJA) recently competed at the Adventist Robotics League (ARL) national championship at Sacramento Adventist Academy in California, sponsored by the School of Engineering at Walla Walla University, Washington. Both teams won an invitation as finalists to this event from their performance in April at the ARL Southern Challenge sponsored by the School of Computing at Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee.

At the national championship, the OJA RoboJags won a first place plaque for the design of their robot. They also won second place for project presentation, third place for core values, and third place for robot performance. The FLEC Tech Geeks won second place for core values, second place for robot design, third place for project presentation, and third place for robot performance.

As clubs began to build a robot last fall, they were given a 4´x8´ map detailing the robot’s mission in helping make life better for senior citizens. “The focus is not on winning, but on putting knowledge and skill to work for the betterment of others,” says Mel Wade, ARL director.

Adventist Robotics League competitions utilize Lego Mindstorm NXT kits. (Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Elvis Ripley)

The robotics programs have given students more enthusiasm for science and technology. “During competition, the students worked together as a team, honing their programs on the robots, reining their projects, and demonstrating true team cooperation,” says Gregg Braithwaite, FLEC Tech Geeks coach.

Garren Miller, a seventh grader at OJA, invited his grandfather, Randall Robbins, who works in environmental instrument services, to visit the competition in Tennessee. “I am thrilled to see my grandson engaged in robotics class,” says Robbins. “I was astounded to realize the programming these young people are learning is the same type of coding used every day in my line of work. This program is very valuable, and I hope to see it continue in the future.”

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