Lansdale PA (24 January 2009)
Cheers, groans and loud music filled the Christopher Dock Mennonite High School gymnasium as robotic creations battled is a 12 foot square arena.
Over 150 people attended the Christopher Dock High School Vex Robotics scrimmage on Saturday. 27 teams from 16 schools competed in “Elevation” a robotics challenge to move and place 3” foam blocks in tall clear plastic goals. Elevation is a worldwide robotics competition with over 1000 teams from around the globe.
Roboteers, coaches and families from Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania filled the gymnasium with robots and teams dressed in colorful costumes. The 18 inch 20 pound metal and plastic robots ranged from Team 555’s simple tank robot to Team 631’s ultra complex “Strike Freedom” - a robot capable of picking up 10 cubes at a time. Teams competed in a two-robot alliance against opposing teams to gather and place as many cubes as possible.
After 33 matches where each robot competed five times in the 3-minute contests, eight robots moved to the finals:
1 Seed – 631 Strike Freedom (PA) (undefeated)
677 Montclair High School (NJ)
2 Seed – 929 Hereford High School (MD)
12c The Potomac School (VA)
3 Seed – 12a The Potomac School (VA)
12d The Potomac School (VA)
4 Seed – 76 Science Resources (PA)
1640 Downingtown Robotics (PA)
After a 45 minutes of hard competition it was down to the final match: Strike Freedom / Montclair vs. The Potomac School’s two robots. In one of the closest matches of the day, The Strike Freedom / Montclair team claimed the first place trophies.
The judging team was impressed with Team 12c’s engineering design incorporating both motors and pneumatic systems along with a unique gripper used to pick up and place the blocks. Team 12c from The Potomac School received the Chairman’s Award for Engineering.
Team 81 from Downingtown Robotics received the Chairman’s Award for Best Young Robotics Team. This middle school team’s extendable claw robot was simple but performed well. The judges were impressed with the team’s thought process and design decisions.
Event organizer Gail Anderson said, “This competition is a great display of what kids can do when they’re working & learning together. It’s great to see so many students developing engineering skills.“ Steve Rhoads one of the co-organizers said, “This event is a fabulous example of the competition robotics community developing in the Greater Philadelphia Area. We had outstanding examples of students building amazing technology here." “Robotics shows that science, technology, engineering and math can be fun too, all the roboteers had a super time,” added Foster Schucker from STEMRobotics.org an event sponsor.
Christopher Dock Mennonite High School website is: www.dockhs.org
STEMRobotics is a non-profit dedicated to bringing robotics to middle and high school students Southeastern PA. See www.stemrobotics.org