Sunday, January 25, 2015

VEX IQ Robotics Competition

In December Nash was given the chance to join the Robotics Club at the school.  He was THRILLED beyond explanation!  He has loved getting to learn about how to build and program a robot.  My cousin Austin does the Robotics Club at the high school and Nash even had a chance to go and watch a high school competition one day instead of going to school!

Today was the first competition that he was able to participate in.  We had to be in Kaysville at 9 am so the other kids spent the night with Trav's parents.  

This is most of Nash's team 

Each team does 5 matches.  His school has 3 teams and each of those teams does 5 matches.  Each time also had to do 4 skill sets and go in front of the judges for judging.  Nash's group hasn't done a STEM project so that puts them out of the running for the overall top position.  Granted, his group is all inexperienced fourth grade boys & they've been focused on getting their robot built and programmed.  Nash did tell me that they plan to put together a STEM project now for when they go to the State competition at the end of February up at USU.

A match is interesting to watch.  
Each match is only 1 minute long.  
At the 35 second mark you must change drivers or you will be penalized if you refuse to give the controller to your teammate.  
There can only be 2 team members at the floor during the match.  One team member bulldozes and the other stacks.  
There is another 2 person team at the same floor.  The other team also has one person bulldozing and one person stacking. 
 In elementary VEX competition (not sure if it's the same at the high school level), the teams can work together.  They have the two teams on the floor and two teams up at a que.  There are two matches taking place at the same time.  This makes for SUPER fast movement through everything that needs to be accomplished.
The way they score it is interesting as well.  At the end of the minute any blocks that are past the flags count as 1 point each.  There are three different colors of blocks.  You must stack same color blocks together.  If you have 2 green blocks stacked then green counts as 2 points each.  If you have 3 blocks stacked they count as three points each.  One team scored 79 points in a skill set today! 
The points the kids earn in their matches are really of no value.  At the end of the five matches they take the number of points the teams earned and pair them with another team of similiar point value.  Then those two teams go against each other until you end up with a high score for those two teams.  Once that has been done you have to take all their points from judging and add that in as well.  Apparently at the first competition of the year our school team was in first place with points from matches.  However, once they were paired with people of like number points and did their second round of matches a fourth ranked team won.  Boggles my mind still!

Waiting to do their first of four skill sets:

Skill set was a bust!  Robot got stuck!  With your skill sets they just take your highest score of the four and count it.  All others are tossed out.  You can choose to do a driver skill set or a programming skill set.  You can do all programming skill sets or all driver skill sets or any combination thereof.

We ended up leaving early (that's a post entirely of it's own to come later) so I don't know how his team did at the very end of the day.  Nash has loved being in robotics club and has learned so much.  He has wanted to be an engineer when he grows up so this is giving him a glimpse into it.  I think he's really looking forward to the state competition next month!