While the Twisters won’t be going on to the state competition, they came home happy with two trophies: one in robot design and one for the high score robot.
Valeria Menke, one of the parents and organizers of the robotics teams, said it is rare for a team to win two trophies. For a team to have the organization, put in the work and make it to competition is an accomplishment in and of itself. Earning a trophy was a bonus.
Together the students programmed a Lego robot to do specific tasks in the obstacle course, including shoot a ball at bowling pins.
The children had fun and learned along the way. They worked hard, meeting on Wednesdays since September, and as it got closer to competition on Fridays, Mondays and sometimes Saturdays.
“I had not had a lot of time to work with Legos. I thought this was a really great opportunity,” said Faith Brookshire, 10, who attends Roosevelt Elementary.
“I wanted to program a robot and learn what it was like,” said Theron Gray, 10, who attends Fairview Elementary.
And what did they learn along the way?
“A lot of math,” said Faith.
“I learned how to build better with Legos,” said Michaela Hayden, who is homeschooled.
John Genge, 11, who attends Pelican Elementary, said he learned more ways to build, program and use the robots. He said the team used the computer program to create a new series of commands for the team’s robot. The program uses “blocks” that the children place in order for the robot to carry out commands. The team combined blocks to create their own new blocks for those commands, they said.
That was one reason the team won robot design, said Bob Morehead, team coach.
He also said the judges looked favorably on the Twisters because when they gave presentations or spoke to the judges, all the team members contributed.
“Everybody spoke their part and was enthusiastic,” Morehead said. “The robot was good, but you guys nailed it in terms of the interview.”