Success!! FIRST Robotics 2012

Robotics 1_dsc00258The SVRTC is fortunate to have several school divisions that participate in annual FIRST Robotics programs. Some place year-long emphasis on the programs and some dive in to the 6-week builds every January. Team 1413 of Mecklenburg county participated in this year’s FRC competition held at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their robot, Skrappy, faired well during the 3 day event and finished 4th out of 55 teams attending the event. They went on to compete in quarter-final rounds.
FIRST Robotics is being used to stimulate high school student’s interest in STEM related fields and encompasses areas of programming, electrical, electronics, pneumatics, vision, and mechanical. Working with mentors from a variety of disciplines allows the students to learn from the people with lots of experience in leadership, engineering, and more. The atmosphere is family-like, with students working side-by-side with retired naval officers, university professors, engineers and others.
For many years the SVRTC and Longwood’s ITTIP have promoted STEM and application oriented learning using concepts like computational sciences and blended learning. Today, we’re beginning to see the results of these ideas coming to life as teachers from different disciplines are beginning to collaborate in the development of curriculums. It’s great to see math, science, and physics teachers interacting.

The tournament was based on shooting basketballs through hoops situated at different heights and points. Lasting for only a few minutes, the match consists of an autonomous period and a tele-operated period. Points scored during the autonomous period represent higher points than those scored during the tele-operated period. At the end of the match teams can try to balance one or more robots on a teetering ramps for additional bonus points. The FIRST scoring system focuses on collaboration between teams and alliances, consideration for lesser performing teams, and the need to win but doing so by as few points as possible in order to gain the highest ranking. Gracious professionalism is the mantra for FIRST competitions.Robotics2_dsc00209

Team 1598 and 1413 rose continually with each match to be ranked 8th and 17th respectively by the end of the qualifying rounds. Being ranked 8th allowed Danville’s team to be included as a top seeded team and was positioned to select two additional teams to form their alliance for semi-final competition. Because of their success in scoring and general performance over the past two days Danville selected Mecklenburg’s team as one member of that alliance. The subsequent matches resulted in the teams finishing in 8th place in the semi-finals of the tournament.