Snow won’t stop the robots | News, Sports, Jobs

Nearly half a foot of snow was dumped on Minot on Friday, but that won’t stop kids and their robots from competing in the 2022 Lego Minot Regional Robotics Tournament today at Minot State University.

Allison Auch, executive director of Full STEAM Ahead, said MSU has done a good job clearing parking lots of snow.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, will be held today in the second-floor gymnasium of MSU’s Swain Hall from 1 to 3 p.m.

One of the contestants, 13-year-old Seth Finley, is in grade seven this year at Bishop Ryan Catholic School.

“I experienced Lego robotics for the first time through the Hostfest in the Schools program and really enjoyed it,” Finley said in an email to the Minot Daily News this week. “So I was excited to join my school’s Lego Robotics team when I was old enough (4th grade). Our Lego Lions team won the state competition that year, so we had to go to Detroit, MI to participate in the international competition! It was amazing! This is my 4th year in a team. I love doing programming the most and I also want to learn to code. I am learning to work in a team, to work towards a goal, to compromise with my teammates.Thanks to what I learned in Lego Robotics, I want to become a computer programmer.

Finley explained that this year’s contest is called “CargoConnect.” The goal is to create better ways to transport goods, he said. Each team built a robot with a “Spikes Kit” which contains all the parts needed to build the robot, such as Legos, a “brain,” and wheels.

“We use a battery brick and a micro USB to charge the brain”, Finley said. “The brain operates motors and sensors. This year we are using the Spike app to program the brain from a computer. We write programs for the robot to perform the assigned tasks. There are at least 13 different tasks that we can try to accomplish. Some of the tasks are: 1) Bridge (we have to knock down both sides of the bridge to earn points) 2) Motor Flip (there is a gray and blue lever that we have to flip) 3) Helicopter (there is a lever on the bottom that we have to push forward to drop a crate on the other team’s board.) Each task is assigned a certain number of points. The goal is to earn as many points as possible. You can also lose points by getting penalties. Examples of penalties are picking up your robot from outside the home area, touching something outside the home area, and having too many team members on the tray at the same time. We also earn points by making our presentations to the judges. We explain how we designed our robot and why, we are judged on how well our team works together, and we also give a presentation on how we would solve the assigned problem (carrying goods). We should display the Core Values ​​at all times (Discovery, Inclusion, Teamwork, Impact, Innovation and Fun).

There are nine other kids on Finley’s team. Each team can have up to 10 children competing. The competitors are between 10 and 14 years old. Auch said there will be 10 teams competing today from across the region. Past events have had up to 22 robotics teams competing. She said the coaches are teachers, parents and community volunteers.

Dusty Lawson, who coaches his son Ethan and other kids, said it was a great opportunity for the kids to learn not just robotics but also teamwork. Participation in activities through Full STEAM Ahead is free or incurs a nominal fee for children. Lawson said Auch has done a great job finding sponsors and grants for science, technology, engineering, arts and math activities.

“Yes, kids learn coding/programming/engineering,” Auch said in an email. “But one of the fun things about that achievement that Lego really lives by is the core values. Teamwork, Graceful Professionalism, and Fun!! We really work to expose kids to challenges individually and as a team to help them to learn to fail. To know that they have to keep trying. Things won’t always work out the first time, but they can’t give up. Maybe they need to adjust their angle or ask for help , but just keep trying. I believe these kids are more interested in opportunities in computer science and robotics at the high school level. We haven’t been around long enough with robotics full steam ahead to see the impact at the college level, but we’re excited to follow this!”

Full STEAM Ahead was launched to lead the LEGO Robotics Program teams in the community. Young children in the group called FLL Explore are coached by MSU education majors, Auch said. These teams do not compete but learn the basics of robotics, coding and teamwork.

FULL STEAM Ahead is also involved in other programs. Auch said she also coordinates drama, coding camps, after-school enrichment programs, persuasion/rhythm lessons, chess camps, kickball, T-ball and others. activities.

The winners of today’s robotics competition will compete in the North Dakota State Tournament at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks on February 12.

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