By Tiffany Fu ’19 and Karriem Lomas ’19
Botley Crue, the Robotics team, placed 11 out of 30 in the most recent competition at the NYC Championship at Townsend Harris High School on February 25. With a team of 13 people, students work long hours to prepare for the competition.
At the previous tournament, Dalton, on February 18, the team got an award for best design and the inspire award, which allowed them to qualify for the City-Wide championship, Relic Recovery Game. This is the first technological challenge for high school students citywide to compete against each other.
The other teams did not receive awards in the previous qualifier, making Botley Crue the only Midwood team to advance to the city championship.
Mr. Camero Jahn, AutoCAD teacher and the primary robotics coach said, “First, you have them learn the rules in the rule book. We’ve been preparing for years. First you start off in robotics, programming legos then go into mechatronics, using the same type of parts in the competition. Some kids prepare by being in AP computer science, learning how to code. Then, we set up the field to be as close as the competition as possible. Then let the kids figure it out on their own.”
To score points, you have glyphs(cubes) , placed in the in the crypto box, an idol(relic) and other means. During the autonomous period, the first thirty seconds, the team can knock down the opposing team’s jewel, (plastic ball placed in a holder where they start off) to score points according to the team color. During the last thirty seconds of the game, the teams can score more points by getting the relic to a placemat outside the field.
Ms. Lisa Ali, robotics teacher, said, “We had tons of obstacles. Issue with our order. We didn’t receive our products so we had to go back and forth. Even after the competition. It still didn’t come yet.”
Each group member was assigned roles by the teacher. There is a captain, five builders, three programmers, electrical engineer, material manager engineering notebooker, and 3D designer.
Julie Margolin ’19, Captain of Botley Crue, said, “We faced a lot of difficulties. Most things we did didn’t work the first time and we were pressed for time. We ordered some materials ourselves and spent countless hours working on the robot after school and on the weekends in order to prepare ourselves for the competition.”
Though the Botley Crue members were mostly independent through the whole process, both teachers supplied the team with advice and taught them what would be required during this event. Neither teacher was able to assist the team with building or programming during the FIRST Tech Challenge, since the point of this competition was to allow the teams to work together in order to resolve the issues they encountered during the challenge.
Anthony Guan ’19, builder and electrical engineer said, “One of the plenty of difficulties we faced was almost not qualifying for the relic games. We lost the first qualifier due to careless mistakes but were able to qualify the second time due to our placement in 3rd place and getting the inspire award.”
Jordan Brammer ’18, another builder, said, “Competition days are always hectic and super long, getting there at 8 in the morning to make sure we pass our inspections and go through our interviews was tiring but in the end it was all worth it since we performed well enough during the competitions to qualify for the city championships. Even though we didn’t qualify for the regional qualifiers in Pennsylvania, working together with these group of guys taught me a lot about working efficiently to finish a task and division of labor and was a fun experience overall.”
Brammer ’18 said, “A major obstacle was faced when we decided to change our motors before the city championships, which was a risky move which cost us a lot of speed. However, our robot performed well enough to have us place 11th out of the 30 teams that were there.”
Ms. Ali stated, “Robotics is an extremely important subject to be taught in school. It’s a break for you to get to tinker with toys. You’re able to learn valuable skills like communication, working together as a team, and critical thinking.”
As our world is becoming more technology driven, there is an importance in the use of robotics as it is our future. Students are able to learn teamwork skills, hone their computer science skills, and increase their ability to be creative and innovative.