Saturday, December 14, 2013

Regional 4th & 5th Grade Robotics Competition

Pine Tree ISD fourth-graders Dylan, left, and 
Ethan watch their robot during a practice run Friday.
Walton Wyoming Smith, Jr., better known as "Wy" to the Region 7 Gifted and Talented Robotics competitors, returned for the region's fourth and fifth grade students as they go head-to-head Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in the Intermediate Fall Robotics Competition. Nearly 700 high school students on 177 teams from around the region competed in late October.

The event has a theme that is a spin-off of "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a similar story line for character Wy. In a meeting of the minds, Region 7 fourth and fifth graders will compete for trophies that can be earned based on how well the teams' robots are built and how well they can maneuver through a course that leads the robots through Yellowstone National Park. 

The destination, the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, can only be reached by those robots that can successfully navigate through the challenges of Mudpot Mire, Old Faithful, Tranquility Bear, Cold Deck and Cave Falls Peregrination. And, of course, successfully return home. Each stop along the track is task-specific and requires students to conduct research, including studying the real history of Yellowstone National Park.

The competition involves a variety of subject areas including language arts, technical writing, social studies, mathematics, science, history, developing main ideas, understanding and using advanced vocabulary, and more. Strategies requiring a working knowledge of speed, accuracy, light and objects are also involved in the competition. Students will be judged on engineering and design, stability, overall appearance, originality, component placement and cohesiveness, as well as on a journal they were required to keep on research and designs for the robots.

"The purpose of our Robotics Competition is to facilitate cross-curricular connections that help our students build higher level critical thinking skills and to show how robotics can be used across all areas," said Region 7 Gifted and Talented Education Specialist Donna Ashby. "The competition has grown so much that we had to move the fourth and fifth graders competition to a separate date, and we are looking forward to seeing how they compete this year."

View more photos here.


Adapted from an article in the LNJ:
Read the Longview News Journal.

By Angela Ward

On Friday, December 13, 2013, dozens of East Texas fourth-and fifth-grade students who competed in a robotics competition at Region 7 Education Service Center in Kilgore.

Their assignment required them to build robots that had to complete tasks on the journey of “Wyoming Smith,” a take-off on the popular movie character Indiana Jones.

“It’s fun and it’s a good way to find out what works and what doesn’t, when we try different things with our robot,” said Pine Tree fourth-grader Angelina Pruitt.

The robots were tasked with navigating an arena in which they had to go up ramps, through tunnels and around a number of other obstacles.

“Our robot is doing decent, but not as well as we’d expected,” said Levi Bowden, a fifth-grader on Union Grove’s team.

Pine Tree fourth-grader Jakerra Horne, unlike many of the other students, said the programming part of the competition was actually the most interesting for her.

“It’s a way to test what you know and see if it actually works,” she said.

Donna Ashby, gifted and talented education specialist for Region 7, said the competition involved a variety of subject areas, including language arts, technical writing, social studies, mathematics, science and history. Students were judged on engineering and design, stability, overall appearance, component placement and cohesiveness, on a journal they were required to keep on research and design for the robots, and originality.

For Union Grove fifth-grader Valerie Garcia, originality was what it was all about.

“It’s a way to express my creativity,” she said.

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