Student robotics teams to compete at State
EVERETT — Two student robotics teams of Eisenhower Middle School are turning a passion into competitive experience.
Both teams have advanced to the FIRST LEGO League state championships to happen in Seattle on Feb. 5.
They’re led by Eisenhower teacher and fifth year coach Anne Gamache.
This year’s competition theme is “Cargo Connect,” where the teams were tasked with re-imagining and improving global transportation systems. Eisenhower’s two teams, the “Power Programmers” and the “Copious Coders,” competed in regionals at Evergreen Middle School in early December, with both winning their respective competitions.
The whole process requires immense dedication. Gamache’s students meet after school for a minimum of 4 ½ hours per week, and up to 6 hours per week during competitions.
“This group of kids is so much fun to be around and I am so proud of what they have accomplished this season,” Gamache said. “I am glad that the robotics team is able to provide a safe space for the students to learn and grow after the pandemic.”
The competition involves a track course the robots must complete, with tasks varying from unloading cargo ships to moving material from one destination to another. Students are then required to present their robots to a panel of judges and defend their creations.
It can’t be understated how dedicated these students are to their teams and the robotics club.
Each student comes into the club with varying degrees of knowledge and experience in robotics. The robotics teams allow the students to grow their knowledge of programming, engineering, teamwork, and problem solving. Many students eventually want to pursue a career in STEM, and the robotics teams provide them with a good starting point.
For the competition, the students are provided with a kit sent by the league which uses the SPIKE Prime robot brain. Students are then required to build attachments and program code for their robots. Once their bots are complete, testing and troubleshooting begins to fine tune their creations and make them fit for competition.
The league consists of teams of students in sixth to eighth grades.
The Tambark Creek Elementary Lightning Coderz team and Gateway Middle’s Hot Wheels team also were recognized in the December regionals.
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