The Lyme-old Lyme High School Robotics Team, recently participated in the National FIRST Championship in St. Louis Missouri. The competition featured nearly 600 teams from 33 Countries and 15,000 students participating in a four-day event. In both events, Lyme-Old Lyme students performed exceptionally, and were selected to participate in the division finals.
The robotics contest asks students to design and build a robot to compete in a competition that varies in its task each year. For example, this year’s task involved picking up Whiffle balls and shooting them through a target 7’ high. The robot also needed to climb a rope and deliver gear shaped game pieces to a hook on the playing field. Students need to complete the design-and-build process in a tight six- week window. Not only does the robot need to operate by remote control, but it also must be able to work autonomously, that is, under its own control through programming. Laura Lee Wayland, one of the operators and a team engineer at the Championship, said of the recent competition, “Our robot effectively utilized all components in a seamless manner. This allowed us to compete among the best robots in the world”.
The robot is constructed in the high school’s Technology and Engineering lab and includes student teams designing and building various systems, such as drive motors and transmissions or control systems. The process asks students to work together and employ engineering skills to solve complex problems. Students utilize skills such as, computer-aided design, machining, programming, wiring and, of course, teamwork. Students also work with real engineers, machinists, and technicians on the team, learning skills and getting introduced to what these careers can offer. Mr. Goss, one of the teachers that helps mentor the team said, “The program does a great job of immersing students in the engineering process. From design to build to testing, they experience the full process.”
Hayden Hendrik, a senior on the team said, “It was a good experience learning to prototype a part for the robot and then reengineer it to make it better. What I like most about the process is how everyone, including students and mentors, works together to solve a problem”.
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