By: Carly P. & Khanh P., staff writers
“It was a great experience!”- Eric Gasperro. The Magruder Mustangs Robotics Team #585, sponsored by Exxon Mobil, went to our very first robotics competition on Sunday, November 9 at Culver City High School. The First Lego League of Greater Los Angeles created this opportunity. There were 23 teams judged on three things: Core Values, the Robotic Game, and the Project Presentation. This year’s challenge theme was all about learning. “In the 2014 FLL WORLD CLASS℠ Challenge, over 265,000 children from 80 countries will redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. Student teams will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn.” Our students were nervous, but at the same time, anxious to start the competition.
At 7:30, on a foggy morning, Magruder parents brought their excited students to Check In, where we had to register our team. Then at 8:00-9:30 Mrs. Nowak and Mr. Ogle helped kids focus by practicing the core values, the project presentation and the robot game. The project was to show a way kids could improving learning something. The idea that the Magruder team presented was showing fun and interesting ways to teach other students coding, since it is important for careers, and it is essential to computers and commands. We presented the idea of teaching kids through the Hour of Code Week, and by setting up a club called Code4Kidz in which we teach coding throughout one on one games and lessons using www.codeacademy.com and www.code.org.
The robot team practiced with their robot called “Armbar” (named for its powerful arm), on the field of ten possible missions. Our team programmed Armbar to attempt three missions: open a door, push a bar called “changing conditions”, and retrieve a key and bring it to home base.
Starting at 9:30, the Robotics Game team got three tries on the robotics game table “field of missions” throughout the day. On the first and second try we got 30 points each, and on the third try, we scored 50 points. “This was a fun experience because they were challenging tasks that we managed to finish.” said Owen Nowak. On the field, we accomplished three missions, the third was the most difficult: retrieving the key and bringing it back to the base.
Then, at 10:30, we gave our presentation to the judges, about the Hour of Code and our coding club. The judges were impressed with our desire to teach coding, because the judges knew coding, but didn’t learn it until they were adults. They seemed to like the fact that we were trying to get kids to learn at an early age.
Right after that, at 11:00, we were judged on the core values. What we had to do for this segment of judging was to have a leader and a runner, and we had to draw a picture using the description our runner got from our leader. The picture that we had to draw was a flying saucer attacking a house. We were told our group was the first to draw it in 3-D, like the original, so we were good at communication information. “I had a lot of fun being the runner because this taught me that teamwork was really important, for this task- not only that, but for everything.”
Lastly, this is was a great experience. We learned new things, but having fun was the most important result of this competition. Although everyone wanted to win, we placed 12th , which we can be proud of in our first year of competition. The Magruder students at the competition had a great time that they will never forget. “Overall, this is an experience I won’t forget so that I can improve on future robotic competitions.” says Eric.
In conclusion, at 2:30 we had the awards ceremony, and even though we didn’t win, we got an award for participation, and won an unforgettable experience, which was hanging out with other people who loved robotics and coding. A big thank you also goes to our sponsor, Exxon Mobil, who provided the EV3 robot kits for our Magruder Robotics Club.