By Kelli Gile
DIAMOND BAR—Top fifth grade teams took over the multipurpose room during Evergreen Elementary School’s 1st annual robotics competition on Wednesday.
About 40 students were invited to show off their skills during four rounds of maneuvers, including sumo wrestling and a gate crashing bridge during the single elimination tournament.
Students have been working all year learning to build and program Xbot robots using Lego Mindstorm kits, according to teacher Laura Mowrey who introduced the STEM program five years ago before joining the staff.
“Our team offers robotics lessons twice a week as part of our science education,” she said.
Teacher Dr. Cathy Patterson explained in one of the challenges, the Xbot, teams used precise measurements to make their robots follow a track.“They are programmed to go distances and make turns according to angular measurements using the wheel circumference and rotations as calculated through the year and logged into their robotics journals,” she said.
The robot closest to the finish line took the win during each heat.
“All of them were within 10 millimeters – it was really close!” Patterson said.
“Our robotics program is not just a great way for the kids to use their math and science skills, but it is also a chance for them to practice working as team through cooperation and collaboration,” said teacher Lynn Otsu.
Throughout the three-hour competition, students used their CAD skills and calculators making final programming adjustments to edge out competitors.
“We’re telling our robot what to do,” said Team Pi member Adam Loch moments before the finals.
“Right now, we’re programming it to go slower.”
“It’s a good robot. This lift helps it bump people off during the sumo match!” added teammate Caleb Sohn.
On stage, an eager group of students watched robots roll through the gate crashing bridge as teacher Kristine Kobzeff recorded each attempt.
The Xbots were programmed to go five feet in seven seconds before the gate opened, then stay up for three seconds before going down.
“The robots had to make it through before the gate crashed down on them!” Mowrey said.
Students Anthony Chang and Jack Liu designed the impressive engineering project.
On black round mats, sumo wrestling robots were programmed to fight to the end.
“We made the final sumo round!” exclaimed Sienna Simmons, a member of an all-girl team before the match.
“Our robot’s kind of small which makes it go fast! We had a good feeling about it,” added teammate Hana Bouindani, 11.
“It’s a long process, but by the end of the year they really know how it all works,” Patterson added.