Posts Tagged ‘Robotics’

SCW FIRST Robotics Team Competes at Regionals

November 14, 2013

On November 9, 2013, the FIRST Robotics team from St. Clare Walker Middle School attended the regional competition at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. SCW Club members have been preparing for two months and developed an invention, prototype, and programmed a robot to perform specific tasks.

FIRST Robotics Club 2013- 1st Place Research Project

Standing from left to right – Jacob Winn, Jerry Lindsey, Chloe Hodges, Kenneth Beam, Tyler Radabaugh, Jack Graulich, Jack Ruark. Kneeling in front – Cole Ruark

This year, FIRST Robotics had a theme of “Nature’s Fury,” which includes all natural disasters. The team developed an invention that would help people prepare, survive, and recover from a hurricane. Students came up with the “Flash Wall,” a device that resembles a wall that pops up from the ground using hydraulics surrounding your home.  The Flash Wall should theoretically prevent water from reaching your home during flash floods resulting from hurricanes.

The SCW team researched damage to Middlesex County from Hurricane Isabel in 2003.  The students came up with an alternate resource to use to make the Flash Wall with cenocell, a material made from compressed coal ash.  Each year, 125 million pounds of waste can be recycled into cenocell.  This material is lighter, cheaper, stronger, and more environmentally friendly than concrete.  For additional guidance, the students interviewed Mark Nugent, Emergency Services Coordinator for Middlesex County, and he gave his opinion on different aspects of the Flash Wall prototype and presentation.

For the competition, students were required to build a LEGO Mindstorms robot that would perform tasks on an official FIRST Robotics mat.  The robot had to be programmed to complete tasks such as pushing a person from one place to another, pushing a lever that released an airplane, and capturing objects on the mat.  At the competition, the students were evaluated on the robot’s performance and robot design, the project solution, and a core values test.  FIRST Robotics insists each member much be respectful of each other and enjoy themselves at the competition.  The core values test graded each of the FIRST Robotics members on their teamwork and graciousness throughout the whole competition, as well as how they treated others.

The SCW team achieved highly in each category and received first place for their research project, which included scoring on the presentation to the judges.  Unfortunately, the SCW team did not qualify to advance to the state competition, but the students are very pleased with their win and learned a lot.  The students look forward to performing even better in all categories next year.

Students on the SCW FIRST Robotics team include  Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich, Chloe Hodges, Jerry Lindsey, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Ruark, Jack Ruark, and Jacob Winn.  Team member Brayden Miller was unable to attend.  The team was coached by Matthew Short, SCW Technology Teacher, and mentored by Kathy Ruark, technology coordinator for Middlesex County Public Schools.

Written by Jack Graulich and Tyler Radabaugh

SCW Robotics Club Competes

November 20, 2012

On November 10, students from the SCW Robotics Club competed in the FIRST LEGO League competition at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen. The theme of the 2012 competition was Senior Solutions Challenge. The teams were challenged to find ways to improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities.

back row: Jerry Lindsey, Andrew Hudson, Tanner Johanson, Coach Matthew Short, Kevin Horton
front row: Matthew Wilson, Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich, Jack Ruark, Tyler Radabaugh

There are three parts to the FLL challenge: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. The Robot Game and Project are what teams do, and the Core Values guide teams through the experience.

For The Project, each team had to find a senior partner. The SCW team chose Mrs. Dant, a familiar substitute teacher in MCPS schools. With the help of Mrs. Dant, they worked to identify and learn about a problem faced by seniors. The team then created an innovative solution to the problem for the competition.

In The Robot Game, students build and program a robot to accomplish certain tasks to earn points and compete against other teams, always keeping in mind the daily challenges seniors face as they age. The #1 rule for this challenge is to have “Gracious Professionalism”. The “Gracious Professionals” compete hard against problems, while treating all people with respect and kindness. Students also build onto other people’s ideas instead of resisting or defeating them.

In addition to the “Gracious Professionalism,” other Core Values form the cornerstones of the competition. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

The Core Values of the FLL are:

  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we win.
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
  • We have FUN!

During the FLL Challenge, students are building strong character traits as well as using higher-level problem-solving abilities.  Matt Short, faculty sponsor, states, “There was a lot to do in a small amount of time, and the team did a great job. They should be proud of all that was accomplished and how well they did at the tournament. We will continue to meet for the remainder of the year in order to better prepare ourselves for next year’s challenge. Ready. Set. LEGO!”


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