Rolling with robots
It was a weekend of robots at Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota, and three Woodbury teams were involved in it all.
The Woodbury High School, East Ridge High School and Math and Science Academy all competed in the North Star Regional For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition March 31 to April 2.
The teams' names are: the Woodbury High School Robo-sapians, the East Ridge Robotic Ominous Raptors (ERRORs) and the Math and Science Academy Fighting Calculators.
The robotics teams build a functioning robot in a six-week period. Teams use a standard "kit of parts" and a common set of rules to build the robot to perform a series of competitions and games.
"It's the hardest fun you'll ever have in six weeks," said ERRORs team member Pierce Jensen.
This year's game, Logo Motion, had the robots placing inflatable inner tubes in the shapes of a circle, a square and a triangle, the FIRST logo, on pegs at various heights. In addition, a mini robot must be deployed and climb up a pole. The opposing team is able to play defense.
"You're watching your creation come to life on the field," Jensen said.
During this year's robotics competition, all three Woodbury teams said the tournament was a lot of fun.
"I like creating things, designing things and trying to implement them," said Fighting Calculators team member Allison Crump. "Plus, it's fun to see what everyone has done."
The Fighting Calculators ranked fifth overall, out of the 60 teams, at the end of the competition and the ERRORs ranked sixth overall.
"It was a blast," Jensen said.
The Robo-sapians placed second to last.
"We had some unexpected setbacks," Robo-sapians adviser Lance Hovland said. "But, our functionality is much higher this year than last."
Additionally, Fighting Calculators adviser Will Preska was honored with the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, which celebrates effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design.
The ERRORs and the Fighting Calculators will next head to the FIRST World Championships April 28-30 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO.
FIRST Robotics is unique from other competitions in that it emphasizes "gracious professionalism" or "coopertition" which means each team helps each other rather than competing against each other.
"We share designs, we share ideas, we share shops," Jensen said. "It's a friendly rivalry among the Woodbury teams."
Crump said it's fun to have three team from the same community that can help each other.
"It's always competitive, but it's always in good fun," she said. "We help each other as much as possible."