Robots in Allendale

2013-01-26 09.03.28

Last Saturday, I got to be a part of a FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Scrimmage in Allendale. Coordinating this event was my first big task in my new job for the USC-Salkehatchie Leadership Institute.

Wade-Hampton High School has had an FTC team for years, and Mr. Don Sral (teacher and team coach) suggested that we host a scrimmage, to help teams prepare for the state competition on February 23. Despite having almost 30 teams at this level statewide, there were no qualifiers or scrimmages, before we did this event.

I was happy with the turnout of 6 teams, some nearby (Hampton County, Aiken County, and Hilton Head) and some not-so-close (from The Governor’s School of Science and Math, from Greenville, and one team all the way from Asheville, NC).

Some of these teams were veterans, but at least a couple of teams were brand new to FTC. All of these teams had been working on their robots since the fall. These amazingly talented teenagers had to design, build, and program their robots to accomplish a specific task — namely, removing rings from one part of an arena and putting them on a post in another.

Pictures and Videos

Here are some images of the action, to help give you a better idea of what happened in this exciting event:

Wagner-Salley

FTC 2013 050

FTC 2013 024

FTC 2013 060

And some videos:

Positive Feedback

Every team that came expressed their appreciation for this event. They got to test their robots on a regulation field, and make adjustments, and take back ideas to implement before the state competition.

One of my favorite parts of this event was seeing how the different teams helped each other out. Some teams came in knowing that they had software issues, and these problems were solved by members of other teams. Tools were shared freely, as well as ideas. These teenagers were a real class act.

We plan to conduct this event next year, and with more time to plan and communicate, we should have even a better turnout. Also, I hope to encourage more local teams to start teams of their own, as a way to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Edit (August 2013): We’re excited to be starting a robotics team at Allendale Elementary School!

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