Here we are at the end of (our) VEX Robotics season and I don’t think a single post has made it from my brain to the blog. Well, maybe we aren’t at the end just yet and who says bloggers need to keep it all in real time, anyway? In December my robotics team made up of middle schoolers participated in the Wildstang VEX tourney. The participants were a blend of middle school and high school teams. The Makers placed last. Dead last. Though honestly, some of it was bad luck. My kids just weren’t paired with alliance teams much stronger than they were. Although they didn’t win a single match, they fell in the middle of the pack overall on a pure point basis–they just didn’t ever have enough points to win a match.
They regrouped for last weekend’s middle-school-only competition in Oak Park, Battle of the Bots. This time, The Makers added in an autonomous, or pre-programmed mode. This 15 second option at the beginning of the match is a key to winning. Despite some roadblocks and a clueless coach, they programmed the robot and successfully won the autonomous portion (and the accompanying bonus points) in almost every match they played.
Even better, they placed 3rd out of 36 at the end of the qualifying matches and at the end of the day placed 2nd in the tournament!
|The Makers made it to the finals!|
The Makers made me proud on many levels. I hope to find time to write about this in more detail. I’m also thankful for the folks at the Oak Park Education Foundation and the 100+ volunteers it took to make the event a reality. Having tanked at the high school competition and triumphed at this one, I can attest to the importance of having an event where they compete against kids their own age (um, this is assuming that the
parents dads haven’t taken over the robots as their own, but that’s yet another blog post).
I thought our season was over and now I’d get more focused with my Science Olympiad entomology event team, but it turns out The Makers qualified for a trip to the VEX state finals!
That’s the good news. The bad news is that three of my four Makers on are Science Olympiad and our regional tournament takes place the same day as the VEX tourney. The two events are more than an hour’s drive apart and there’s simply no way to accommodate both. I’m trying to figure out if we can make it work for the remaining Maker, but we only have a few days to get our act together and it’s all very iffy.
Granted, it’s a nice problem to have.
Did I mention how proud I am of my team? They truly did it all themselves! I provided the robot kit, a place to practice and rides when needed. I have perfected the art of benign neglect. I offer The Makers up as proof.
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