I, Robot: Students compete in tech contest

posted Jan 23, 2018, 9:09 AM by KRISTAL DAWSON

Students compete in tech contest
By Jason A. Smith jason.smith@gaflnews.com  20 hrs ago 
 
I, Robot: Students compete in tech contest
Jason A. Smith | The Valdosta Daily TimesJoshua Boswell, a 10th grader at Lowndes High School, works on his robot prior to competing in the Viking Invitation State Qualifier. 

     
VALDOSTA — Students from all across Georgia and North Florida competed in the Vex Viking Invitation State Qualifier to show their mettle and earn a spot at state-level competitions Saturday.

Vex is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related robotics program, said Cammie Lund, robotics advisor at Lowndes High School. Vex is intra-curricular and it can be used in competitions such as the Viking Qualifier.

“It teaches kids basic problem-solving skills and prepares them for jobs in engineering and robotics,” she said.

The program also gives students a leg up in competitive spots in engineering programs because of the rigorous requirements the classes have, Lund said.

The eight schools brought out 22 teams to compete in the game “In the Zone,” said Matt North, robotics advisor at Lowndes High School. The game requires the robots to stack cones in order to receive points.

"During the first part of the day, the students participated in qualifying matches that ranked the teams,” North said. 

Each team would play the game eight times. At the end of the qualification round, the top eight teams would compete in the single elimination tournament.

The top three teams would qualify for state-level competitions, Lund said. The team that wins the judges award would also qualify for state; however, it is not uncommon for a team in the top three positions to also win the judges award.

If a team already in the top three for the competition wins, only three teams will qualify for state, she said. If it is a team that did not make the top three, then four teams will qualify for state.

The judges award is an overall excellence award, North said. The judges pick the team with the overall best design, performance, engineering and engineering notebook.

The engineering notebook is a detailed description of how the team created its robot from concept to the finished product.

Teams that produce an engineering notebook are eligible for the design award, North said.

To win the design award, teams must submit the engineering notebook to the judges and participate in interviews that ensure the students understand what is written in the notebooks.

The other award handed out at the tournament is the sportsmanship award, North said.

The sportsmanship award is earned by networking and garnishing the respect of the other students, he said. At the end of the day, each team will vote for another team that was the most helpful throughout the day.  
 
VEX Students working on robot
 
Robot attempts to score a point
 Jason A. Smith | The Valdosta Daily TimesNathanael Strickler, a Lowndes High School senior, and Aeryn Cronin, a LHS sophomore, work on their robot Saturday prior to competing in the Viking Invitation State Qualifier Jason A. Smith | The Valdosta Daily TimesA robot attempts to score a point by placing a cone on top of another cone at the Viking Invitation State Qualifier. 



Jason Smith is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1257
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