Richland Bot Builders rock in CBU robotics competition
Rookie team shines, earns recognition
By Billy Woods
WM School District The Richland Bot Builders, a rookie First Lego League robotic team, competed against 23 other teams in a qualifying round on Jan. 14 at Christian Brothers University.
They won one of only five certificates of recognition and received an invitation to the West Tennessee Championship. Richland competed in the championship against 48 teams at the University of Memphis Jan. 21. The team was elated to win first place for their Innovative Solution that benefits people and animals.
Bot Builder team member, Emily Thorne, said this was an experience that she will never forget.
'Every time you are working with robots it feels like you are an engineer, but what's awesome about it is that you are an engineer. I'm just a fifthgrade engineer.'
The team was judged in four categories: Robot Design, Core Values, A Project and Robot Races. After building and programming their autonomous robot, the team raced in three rounds to earn points by completing missions designed to help animals and people. The team was able to deliver a shark in a tank to a set location, attach a disabled pig's prosthetic legs, deliver a trainer and zoologist to a training base and depress a barrier for a seeing eye dog and its owner in just two-and-a-half minutes.
The team also demonstrated skills in mechanical design, programming efficiency and strategy and innovation in their robot design interview.
The Core Values were judged through an interview focusing on how the team collaborated, problem solved and compromised.
Nicholas King, a rookie team member, said, 'What robotics mean to me is teamwork, trust and learning from each other.
With a nationwide push to increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Richland coach Amanda Webb says that robotics encompass all aspects of STEM.
'Just ask one of our team members or their family about this experience,' said Webb. 'Their response is all the encouragement we need to try to extend and expand this program.'
The team is seeking supportive partnerships to increase students' exposure to robotics, coding and STEM 'My robotics experience was amazing and I hope more people get to have this experience,' said team member Meredith Grafton.
With Richland under construction, Academies of West Memphis principal Gary Jackson and his faculty offered a classroom for the team to meet each week.
If you would like to learn more about the team's journey, visit their blog at http://resrobotics.blogspot .com