Students from Sawyer High School's robotics team will advance to regionals in the BEST Robotics competition after placing first in the tabletop division, taking third place in robotics and third place overall earlier this fall at a competition in Dickinson.
Group adviser Vicki Olson said the contest is intended to encourage interest in careers in engineering, science and technology.
The kids said they have been working on the robot since school started. Each school is provided identical kits of equipment and parts, a set of game rules, and given six weeks to design, build and test a small radio-controlled robot that outperforms other robots at the competition.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - FROM LEFT: Sawyer students Kris Hochsprung, Daniel Becker, Quentin Rockwell, Jayden Walsh and Dylan Lund built the robot they named “Little Bugger,” foreground. The team will advance to regionals having placed first in the tabletop division, third in robotics and third overall earlier this fall at a competition in Dickinson.
Robot builders Kris Hochsprung, Daniel Becker, Jayden Walsh and Dylan Lund said they cobbled together their robot from a variety of materials, including a Plywood frame, PVC pipe, inner tube for traction control, a Bungee cord, string, duct tape and Ziploc tape.
The robot was given the name "Little Bugger." The theme of this year's competition was bugs and the items the robot had to retrieve were given insect names.
The robot had to navigate an obstacle course, pick up an object and deposit it in a disposal chute.
It's hard to find a place to practice with the robot in a school, but the kids had a chance to take the robot to a mall in Dickinson two weeks before the competiiton for "mall day" and run through the obstacle course. They were also able to practice with the robot just prior to the competition.
The team said the robot ran into some technical difficulties during the competition when a weak string snapped. Before the regional competition in Fargo, Dec. 8-10, they plan to work on strengthening the string.
Quentin Rockwell, Valerie Olson, Olivia Tafelmeyer and Meghan Mahoney were among the kids in charge of marketing and creating a tabletop display showing how the robot was created from the very beginning. The display showed photos of Little Bugger while it was under construction and of it being tested during "Mall Day." Teams also had to complete a project engineering notebook and given an oral presentation.
The robotics team worked on the robot after school and on weekends and were in charge of organizing the event with some advice from their adult adviser, some of their dads and business partners in the community.
More information about the contest can be found at (www.bestinc.org).