Running Robotics the Right Way

Running Robotics the Right Way  thumbnail118874

Working in small groups of five or six, high school students enrolled in robotics courses recently conducted a multi-day in-house tournament utilizing robots which the students designed and built themselves from scratch.

After several months in robotics class, students within the course designed and created competition robots to play this year’s VEX EDR game Turning Point. The high schoolers were tasked with creating designs that were robust enough to withstand the competition and also capable of maximizing points within the game.

During the tournament, each team had the opportunity to play with and against all of the other robots in their class, culminating in the crowning of four class champions: Period 1, Robot No. 1 (designed by Hannah Bohlsen, Sophia Cicale, Chelsea Dodenhoff, and Sebastian Gebhard); Period 3, Robot No. 7 (designed by Joe Canas, William Carpluk, Aiden Lopera, Mitchell Meyers and Jason Stein); Period 5, Robot No. 10 (designed by Gabe Abruzo, Mike Baldino, Brendan Hughes and Nathan Willdigg); and Period 8, Robot No. 16 (designed by Sophia Bates, Anthony Carroll, Allison Farino, Arthur Martin and Steve Stassi).

The four class champion robots were then entered into a one-day mini tournament competing with and against each other. Each class had the chance to drive and compete with the class champion robots, providing a true test of the engineering prowess of the designs. In the end, Period 3, Robot No. 7 was crowned as tournament champion.

In addition to the class champion and tournament champion awards, alternate awards were given out in an effort to celebrate students for their group work as well as their individual efforts in helping out their teams.

Top Engineer awards were given to Kristen Bayreuther, Jacob DiPrima-Bien, Joe Fragala, Cody Knott and Brian Quinn in recognition of superior engineering skills and helping lead their robotics team.

Recognized as Team Award winners for the most professional design approach were Joe Bucci, Emre Destek, William Lopez-Riano, Neel Patel and Jordan Quillan for Period 5, Robot No. 11.

In recognition of designing and creating the most technologically advanced robot, Bayreuther, Anthony DiSanto, Brandon Gans, Tyler Herzog and Nick Illare won the Judges Award for Period 3, Robot No. 6.

“When I was asked to bring robotics back to the high school, I thought back to when I was involved in East Islip’s FIRST robotics program back in the early 2000s,” said technology teacher James Connell. “The program was excellent and at one point in time, nationally ranked. I always wanted to bring it back to East Islip and jumped at the opportunity when it was presented to me. Unlike FIRST robotics, which was an afterschool program where students designed and created only one robot that was shared by more than 50 students, I wanted to provide students with a more intimate and in-depth experience. Our current setup of running robotics as a course offered within the technology education department not only provides students with the option to do robotics during the day, but it also offers them the opportunity to work in smaller group sessions where they can take more ownership in their learning.”