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Friday, May 6, 2016

Robotics Club competes

Friday, November 30, 2012

Clay City High school students (from left) Taylor Fischer, Ashley Reach, Kiersten Mann, Josh Miller and Whitney Jeffers competed in the RC competition at the Bloomington Robotics Club competition.
Twelve Clay City Jr./Sr. High School students from the Robotics Club recently participated at a competition hosted by the Bloomington Robotics Club at their Ivy Tech campus. Approximately 30 schools from the state of Indiana participated in the event.

Participating from Clay City were seventh-grade students Calvin Fry, Seth Pickens and Alek Shidler, eighth-grade student Kyle Brown, sophomores Kiersten Mann, Taylor Fischer, Ashley Reach, Justin Buell and Parker Ames and juniors Chance Nicoson, Josh Miller and Whitney Jeffers. The students were under the direction of Clay City teachers Ben Thomas and Scott Stucky.

The purpose of the robotics club, led by Thomas and Stucky, is to make connections with S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) subject areas.

Clay City High school students (front, from left) Calvin Fry, Seth Pickens, Alek Shidler and (back) Kyle Brown competed in the Full Pull competition at the Bloomington Robotics Club competition.
"(Through the competition) the students have a chance to see, on a small scale, how robots play a big part in many aspects of day-to-day life," Thomas said. "They also have a chance to gain some insight into the design process as they see the chain of events leading up and through the developmental states as they build a machine."

The group of students participated in three events at the robotics competition.

The first was called "Light the Lamp" and according to Thomas it, "required students to build a robot to compete on a playing field with other robots. RC controllers were used to maneuver and articulate movements of their robot. The basic objective was to pick up hockey pucks and place them into scoring goals."

The second event was an autonomous event that required students to build and program a robot using sensors that were programmed to complete a task.

"This year's task was to follow a line in a figure-eight fashion," Thomas explained. "One part of the course required the robot to navigate over and under a small bridge."

The third and final event was a full pull competition in which the students' robot had to pull a sled down a straight-of-way.

"After each round, more weight was attached to the sled," Thomas said. "The development of the robot involved building a robot with gearing that would pull a lot of weight, but also was fast enough to not get disqualified."

In the autonomous and full pull events the Clay City team won first place. In the "Light the Lamp" event, the team's robot made it to the semi-final round.

"We were very pleased with our performances," Thomas said.

Thomas and Stucky have been attending different workshops at Ivy Tech campuses for the past eight years to learn more about VEX robots, which use micro-controllers and allow for RC and autonomous control, according to Thomas. Stucky and Thomas use the VEX robots and skills learned to teach robotics in their S.T.E.M. classrooms and in the Robotics Club.

The Robotics Club will compete next on Saturday, Dec. 1, in Bloomington.

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