*This is what has interrupted my regularly scheduled posts. And it’s pretty fantastic.
My children are amazing! I know every mother thinks that, but I’m not just talking about my children. I’m talking about the children I get the privilege to work with weekly in a private robotics club. Our club is small, only four members, but what they pulled off this last week was nothing short of a miracle. We are the Nutty Robots team, and here’s our story from the weekend.
Let me set the stage a bit before I talk about the miracle.
We’ve been preparing since the summer to compete in VEX IQ robotics competitions. The competitions require teams to build a robot from the ground up (using VEX pieces that are similar to Tinker Toys, but made out of plastic). To win points the robot needs to be able to pick up balls off of the game table, put them over a fence and into a basket (without going into the area on the other side of the fence), go up a ramp, and knock all the balls off of the ramp.
So, we’ve been building a robot that can do all that.
There are other parts to this competition as well. Teams need to design a STEM project (this year’s focus is on science), research, plan, execute, and present that project to judges. We tested pickling methods … with some interesting results. Teams also need to present their developed robot – talking about the creative and engineering process involved in the robot’s development. In addition, teams need to be able to maneuver the robot on the game table to score points. And, did I mention, teams need to write a program for the robot to maneuver (and score points) on the game table following the previously mentioned guidelines?
Nothing too daunting for a 7th grader, two 5th graders, and a 3rd grader.
Over the course of four months, the robot my team has created – MARS – has been developed, and the other areas of the competition prepared for. Our team competed once in October and did very well. But, the robot did not travel home well. So we spent about three weeks putting it back together. We were all ready for the next robotics competition, when suddenly – one of the axles for our shooter snapped in half.
Did I mention the axle snapped off 72 hours before we were supposed to compete?
After that axle snapped off, there were five more consecutive system failures. By 10 p.m. that night, my living room floor was strewn with pieces of our precious robot.
But, we had determined team members who worked. By 48 hours before the competition, we were going to cancel our participation in the competition. At 24 hours before the competition, we were going to cancel our participation in the competition. By 9 p.m. the night before the competition, though, the robot was reconstructed.
So, off we went to the competition, just glad we could go and learn. Except . . . that didn’t happen.
Instead, we went to the competition and our robot won the programming portion of the competition!
All because four kids didn’t accept the disaster, didn’t give up, and (thanks to the grace of God) were able to pull off the impossible.
All children are amazing! What are some ways your children are amazing?