Congratulations to our two teams that participated in Ladera Ranch for the VEX IQ HIgh Rise games, Friday, January 23, 2015. Wyatt and Amanda maneuvered their hovercraft as they presented their STEM project to the judges. Several team members competed in the individual robot skills contest. And, most exciting, the team had its highest finish ever, taking third and fifth places among fifteen teams. Also notable, of the fifteen teams competing, we had one of only four elementary teams in a mainly middle school competition.
Our next robotics competition will be Friday, January 23, 5:00 - 8:30 pm, in Ladera Ranch. It will be held at Oso Grande Elementary, 29551 Sienna Parkway, Ladera Ranch. I will meet you there. Please reply to this email whether your child will or will not be able to attend. Wear your team t-shirt and bring your signed release form with you.
If you would like to carpool, I suggest arranging that with some other parents next week at practice. This is a fun team event. Not required, but it might be fun to bring some small snack or treat to share with the team. Or would you like to make assignments like drinks, chips, oranges, etc?? I’ll let the parents work that out if someone would like to take charge of making this into a light dinner event. (Although, there is no dinner break, so snacks at the table might be the better choice.)
(Any team members from fall or winter are invited to all the competitions during the year. Just let me know that you are coming.)
How many elementary schools have a traveling robotics team? Trabuco Mesa Elementary in Rancho Santa Margarita does! For 6 months, more than 80 students, kindergarten through sixth grade, along with mentors from middle school and high school have contributed to the team effort. They built a simple clawbot, tested it, made some modifications and competed in Ladera Ranch, winning several trophies for teamwork and creative design. This fall they added a more complex robot design utilizing an elevator idea for their manipulating arm.
Over the weekend, their two teams competed in the VEX IQ competition at Mt San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. Although the TMesa teams were the youngest in experience, they held their own against several very impressive robots.
Some of the sixth grade students, using Modkit, a graphical programming environment based on Scratch, wrote code that drove the robot autonomously. With no driver, the robot was able to maneuver through the field, grabbing cubes and placing them in scoring position. The team took 5th place overall.
In addition to their programming success, the teams also entered an engineering notebook in the Excellence Challenge and submitted a STEM research project on hovercrafts. The judges offered praise and helpful critiques. We are hoping the team will continue to imagine and create as they now prepare for January’s local event in Ladera Ranch.
Trabuco Mesa Elementary School is leading the charge for this year's robotics team; however, we will also include community members from other schools if needed to get a good size team. We will limit the number of team members to twelve this year to ensure everyone's participation. We hope to get enough signups to host a K-3rd grade team and a 4th-8th grade team. After last year's success, we are hoping to make it to the California state championship this year.
Sign up now by calling Cheri at 949-291-2460 or by clicking on "Classes and Events."
About 30 kids from Trabuco Mesa Elementary have attended one of our MATHmania Robotics classes, so we decided it was time to form a team. Is Elementary too young? Can we include first graders? kindergartners? We are about to find out. We will depend on our 4th - 6th graders for most of programming and design creation, but, so far, it looks like the young ones are having no problem coding or building, and they are having a blast driving their newly built robots!
At our Intro to Programming Class..."It's like Minecraft that makes you think." (Sam, 10 years old)