Robotics team sets up playing field for regional

Published 11:32 am Sunday, April 6, 2014

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This past week, our team left for the Bayou Regional in New Orleans. We left a day early, Wednesday morning, and volunteered to help set up the playing field that afternoon. Thursday was a practice day for all teams to prepare for competition. The actual competition days were Friday and Saturday. Teams came from Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arkansas. Each team was able to play in 10 qualifying matches. During these matches you are paired up with two other randomly assigned teams to make a three-team alliance. The qualifying matches will determine the rankings of each team based on wins / loses, shots over the truss, amount of assists, and points scored. If a team is ranked as one of the top 8 teams at the event by the end of Saturday morning, they get to choose their alliance partners for that afternoon. Then the chosen teams will be eliminated through quarterfinal, semifinal, and final matches. The results of the competition will be posted next week, or if you want to find out immediately check out our Facebook page or team website.

Even though our season is practically over, we like to stay involved in our community. We will be hosting the annual Kimmy Food Drive again through the month of April. Team members visit the mall, Wal-Mart, and County Market to accept donations. Dates for this will be in the Vicksburg Post and on our Facebook page. The local schools also participate in this event. Also, after our season ends we love to visit the elementary schools to demonstrate our robot, and talk about robotics with the students. We give the students a chance to drive the robots and complete minor tasks. We like to stay involved in the summer too. Our team helps with the robotics portion of the Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) camp at the ERDC facility. There are three GEMS camps for different age groups. In GEMS I and GEMS II, students get a chance to program mini robots. These robots have to complete tasks on a themed board. Students participating in GEMS II will get a chance to drive our older competition bots. They will test their skills driving through an obstacle course. Team mentors and student alumni will be teaching several classes at the camp. If you think that someone you know might be interested in the camp please tell them about applying. Applications will be available on the GEMS website at www.usaeop.com. There is more to the camp than just robotics, they also teach engineering, chemistry and biology.

The robotics column is a collaboration between team members Kelcey McMaster, Harrison Hunter, Katie Martin and Mary Elizabeth Ballard.