Over the last few months the kids have been working on a 4H robotics competition. Talmage and Sandra ended up on a team with Lawson and Grant was on a team with Layton, Max and Ian. The kids learned a lot about programing and building the robots. The hardest part was getting the robot to perform the tasks of the game challenge. Every time something is programed it has to be checked and if the robot didn't start in the same starting position then it would throw the rest of the program off course. It got pretty stressful up to the official competition, but we came with robots and programs that were ready.(The most stressful part was that Grant had to redo his program from scratch twice right before the competition. I think that stress won't be easily forgotten!)
The hardest part of this competition was that no one in our club had ever done it before. We had so many things happen while there that would have been obvious if we had already done this before. First, we didn't bother to bring the board and such to practice with before it was time for the competition. We tried using the mat on the floor, but the robot didn't run the same on the concrete. We also found out that once the robot is going that if you touch it you have to restart it in the corner of the mat, not the starting position. That totally killed Sandra and Talmage's team on their first round. We had board measurement and design issues because of how we read the instructions. The last thing was that people purposefully just programed one skill, picked up the robot to restart it, and didn't plan the whole route at one time. There is a touch penalty, but it's minimal compared to how many points a team can earn. If we had really planned for this then the kids' programming would have been much less stressful. The teams only ran 2 times. We drove out to San Angelo for 2 runs. I was pretty bummed when I figured this out. At a different robotics competition the teams would run over and over again, so this was really a surprise.
After recovering from all of the things that we weren't prepared for we had a good time. We scored in the middle of the teams, but at least we didn't fall at the bottom (like 50 teams). The kids had a good learning experience, and if we ever do that game again we will be so much better prepared!
Here are some pictures from the competition:
Sandra and Talmage getting the robot in position
Sandra and Lawson
Max, Layton, Ian, and Grant
Lawson, Talmage and Sandra
Robot doing it's job :)
2nd time to run!
2nd time for the Flaming Sheep!
Did much better the 2nd time around.
After finishing up this competition we were exhausted. It was a great experience and we made great friends, but we sure didn't want to see a robot for a while!