Robots and Animals
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of American Academy
Since early fall, the American Academy (AA) robotic teams have been working hard on their robot models to compete in the American Academy Robotics Competition (A2RC). Students spent several hours researching, designing and applying the engineering design process to strategically plan, build, test, and improve their robot models.
Each of AA’s three campuses entered five teams with four to six students each. Teams had 13 weeks to complete the competition components following A2RC’s theme, “The Impact of Humans both Positive and Negative on an Animal’s Habitat.”
Each part of the competition had basic guidelines allowing for the original creativity of each team. Unique code was created in order for each team’s robotic animals to complete specific tasks and challenges. Using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots which were programmed on computers, and using Spheros (a programmable robotic ball from an iPad), these amazing animals came to life.
Robot challenges included real world situations, from moving blueberries to a bear’s cave, tagging a moose and saving bunnies by moving them back to their base. The last challenge was to remove plastic bottles from the creek and return them to the ranger’s station to be recycled. Robotic pandas, leopards, narwhals and their teams defeated each challenge with the flick of a switch, unique coding and team building.
Teams and projects were judged on team spirit, research and poster construction. The robotics challenge evaluation measured each team’s execution through the coding of their robot. The Castle Pines campus team, Robotic Narwhals, won the overall team spirit award. Many team participants felt the best part of the robotics event was the programming and challenging themselves.