Aldrin's robotics team for 2018-19 is comprised of four teams of two or three students in third through sixth grade. The team works together to program, design, build and drive their robots following the VEX IQ curriculum for robotics.
THE PROCESS OF BUILDING AND PROGRAMMING A ROBOT
Each year in March, VEX releases an engineering challenge game for the next school year's competition season. The challenge requires students to build a robot to allow them to acquire the most points for their team during tournaments. The 2018-19 challenge required the children to design and creatively build components of a robot that will scoop, push, lift and place large hubs into a zone. Our students spend the first quarter of the school year building a prototype robot using the VEX directions. Once the students practice with that robot on the engineering challenge, they will typically rebuild the robot in their own design. The rebuilding of their unique robot can take up to several months of designing, refining and redesigning as they strategize the best way to achieve the most points in competition. The teams record the design and building process in an engineering notebook throughout the season. If the students are satisfied with their robot design, they have the option of programming it to run autonomously in competitions.
In competitions, the teams are judged on their driving skills, engineering notebook, teamwork and sportsmanship, programming for autonomous and alliance matches partnering with another team, usually from a different school. The team typically competes in three to four tournaments a season (December through February) in the NOVA area. During the 2018-19 season, the BuzzBots hosted two tournaments at Aldrin. The most skilled teams are invited to the VA State Championship typically held in March. If a team performs well in that tournament, they may qualify for the World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky in April.
WANT TO JOIN THE TEAM?
No prior experience needed. Children should be in 3rd through 6th grade. Children should want to learn how to build, design, program or drive and must be a good team member. They don't need to be an expert in all those areas but willing to put in hard work. Over the season, we have seen each child develop a skill in one or more areas. BuzzBots meets twice a week from September to December in the Aldrin gym to build and practice. During the second half of the season, December through February, the team will meet as schedules allow or as often at their team needs to practice.
Parent volunteers help to supervise the meetings and run the program. No experience is necessary, but commitment to assist is needed and greatly appreciated. We ask that parents volunteer if there are any home tournaments (we had two in the 2018-19 season) and frequently, other teams will request volunteers from us at their tournaments. The team is sponsored and funded by the Aldrin PTA as well as student fees, which cover the cost of a team shirt, equipment and most tournament fees. We will be hosting a parent/child information session in May or June for the 2019-2020 team. Please look in Thursday folders or on the PTA e-mails for upcoming information.
For more information: Contact team manager, Lisa Hull at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2018; Triangle, ES, Triangle, VA Team A won Best STEM Project.
March 2018 - Team A won the VA State championship for best STEM project.
April 2018 - Team A competed at the World Championship held in Louisville, KY.
Ashland E.S., Manassas, VA; January 2019
Team B won Teamwork Challenge Award 1st Place
Team B Second Place Robot Skills
Team D Teamwork Challenge Award 2nd Place
Baldwin Middle School, Manassas, VA; January 2019
Team B won Excellence Award
Aldrin Elementary School, Reston, VA; February 1, 2019
Team B won Teamwork Challenge 1st Place;
Team D won Judges Award
VEX Northern VA CC; Alexandria, VA; February 10, 2019
Team B and Team C score 32 and 33 respectively in skills and are ranked third and second in the state of VA, Alexandria, VA
VA State Championship; Doswell, VA; March 1, 2019
Teams A, B and C competed in the finals match. Team C won Teamwork Challenge 2nd Place
For more about VEX robotics for elementary students, see their website: