Nearly 40 teams compete in recent robotics competition

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 6, 2018

On Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, 37 teams from Rutherford County Schools, Polk County Schools and Spartanburg County School Districts One, Two and Five competed in the third annual Carolina Isobots Regional Competition, held at R-S Central High School.

The Carolina Isobots initiative aims to excite and engage more students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities.

Throughout the year, FIRST LEGO League teams from elementary and middle schools learn about programing a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology, completing complex missions on a challenge mat, and collaborating to research and solve a real-world problem related to the challenge.

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FIRST LEGO League is a national robotics program for 9-to 14-year-old students, designed to get them excited about STEM and teach them valuable employment and life skills. During the season, teams meet weekly to build and test their robots and to prepare the project and presentation elements of competition.

Local business and community leaders are encouraged to become mentors by working directly with teams to share their experience and by helping to shape hands-on learning experiences that reach students beyond the classroom. 

Teams observe the FIRST LEGO League’s Core Values — celebrating discovery, teamwork and gracious professionalism. Because students are responsible for every aspect of their work, they cultivate important leadership and collaboration skills. Teams compete in local scrimmages to prepare them for regional and state tournaments.

During competition, teams are scored on three presentation sessions and several rounds of timed competition.

In the Project Presentation session, teams present original research projects aimed at solving real-world problems. In the Robot Design session, they discuss how they designed their robots to meet the demands of the mission challenge.

During the final presentation, the Core Values demonstration, students share how they worked together to complete the competition collaboratively and professionally.

Finally, each team participates in three rounds at the competition table, where they complete as many missions as possible with their robots during a two-and-a-half-minute table run. This timed competition is open to the public, who can watch as the teams put their skills to the test.

While awaiting results, the crowd was treated to demonstrations by RCSNC’s high school robotics team, the Omegabytes, and the elementary and middle school teams participated in a pop-up dance party.

This year’s top honor, the Champion Award, was awarded to the Pinnacle Elementary School team — the Black Panthers — for embodying the FIRST LEGO League experience by fully embracing the Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and Project. Isothermal Community College sponsored the Champion Award and gave the winning team members $100 for their accomplishments.

Walter Dalton, ICC president, presented the Black Panthers with their award, and RCSNC Superintendent  Janet H. Mason presented the remainder of the awards.

Submitted by Chelsea Rush