Robotics competition builds engineering skills

The Kullerstrand event included seven schools

Posted 2/13/19

Kullerstrand Elementary School in Wheat Ridge was bustling Saturday, Feb. 9 with students third- though eighth-grade preparing their robots to take the playing field. The Vex IQ Robotics tournament …

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Robotics competition builds engineering skills

The Kullerstrand event included seven schools

Posted

Kullerstrand Elementary School in Wheat Ridge was bustling Saturday, Feb. 9 with students third- though eighth-grade preparing their robots to take the playing field.

The Vex IQ Robotics tournament was the fourth held this school year and drew 30 teams from seven schools — Kullerstrand, Alameda Jr./Sr, High in Lakewood, Dillon Elementary in Dillon, Governor’s Ranch Elementary in Littleton, Rooney Ranch Elementary in Lakewood, Three Creeks K-8 in Arvada and Fairmount Elementary in Golden.

“Robotics is a unique platform,” said Kyle Walker, digital teacher librarian at Kullerstrand. “A lot of the robots that are out there are already built. But these robotics, it’s kind of like sophisticated Legos. Students have to build these robot almost from scratch.”

Walker started the first robotics club at Kullerstrand three years ago when a donor bought enough kits and a plying field for the school to run the club. That year, they took three teams to Longmont for a competition.

The next year, Fairmont and Three Creeks also had robotics clubs, so the Jeffco schools hosted a tournament.

For fifth-grade Three Creeks students Trestle Wrenick and Matthew Hamilton, robotics is about creativity and team work.

“I wanted to learn more about how robots work,” Hamilton said. “And in this kind of robotics, you can learn more about how to collaborate with other people and work creativity. I think it makes us better people.”

As far as the competition goes, teams work together on the playing field to accomplish a goal and earn points.

“I like competition because it’s not like battle bots where you smash the opponent,” Wrenick said. “It’s working collaboratively and it helps you build those teamwork skill and have fun at the same time.”

Most teams control their robot with a remote, however, some teams programmed their robots to play the game autonomously.

“It’s a true engineering design process of building the robot, testing it on the field, redesigning, and talking to each other as a team,” Walker said. “The experience is incredibly rich and then the competition is another layer on top if it to make it fun.”

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