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Battle of the ’Bots: Innovation Lab Hosts Spirited Upper School Competition

By Lorre Gifford

Six teams. Twenty-seven roboticists. Contagious excitement. Welcome to the Upper School Robotics Competition in the Keim Center!

Friday, Jan. 2, marked the first of what will undoubtedly be many opportunities for Ravenscroft robotics students to showcase their engineering and programming skills via spirited battling of the “’bots.” What a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the first semester of activity and coursework in the Keim Center’s Innovation Lab!

The Robotics course was developed around the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and, as such, required students to work in teams of four or five members to design, build, program and operate robots with the ultimate goal of engaging in a head-to-head challenge. While the official FIRST competition challenge itself was common to all teams, the ways and means of getting there was unique to each one. There wasn’t a “recipe” for students to follow; rather, teams were challenged to identify what they needed their robots to do, what they wanted their robots to do and what they needed to learn in order to get the job done. In the process, they gained first-hand experience in the engineering design process and programming, and learned — sometimes the hard way — the importance of productive collaboration and time management, especially as it pertains to large-scale projects. Creativity, flexibility, tenacity and patience quickly became the hallmark of successful teams.

The performance of the robots during the competition was certainly impressive and served as evidence of each team’s strategic vision and hard work. While all teams got on the scoreboard in the first round of action, only the top four teams advanced to the qualifying round. The top-two scoring robots and their human handlers (Davis Lambert ’19, Edward Purrington ’20, Alex McNeill ’20, Sergi Roura ’19, Jackson Corigliano ’19, Adam Taylor ’21, Dean BenMoshe ’20, Martina Frederick ’20 and Ethan Howell ’20) advanced to represent Ravenscroft at the regional FTC competition in Farmville on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Congratulations to all and GO RAVENS!

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