Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chalker Blockers are going REGIONALS!!!

pep talk from Mrs. Taylor---their fearless leader :)

Last Fall Jared came to us and asked to join an after school group called Chalker Blockers. It's a Lego Robotic club where they work together as a team and program a Mindstorm NXT robot. Our schedules were packed so we said no. Big mistake. This kid has "the knack" and we know it. So when they had a Spring league we let him join. In fact, Kevin joined too but decided it wasn't for him. This Fall we couldn't wait for sign ups.

Teams are also asked to decided on a problem to solve based on the theme of the competition. Jared is the lead programmer for his group and they decided on Yellowstone National park. The issue is animals walking across the street and getting hit by cars. Their solution was two 180 degree cameras, one on each side of the road. If an animal is spotted in the one camera a cross bar comes down to stop traffic. When the animal is seen in the other camera (safely across the street) the arm will go back up allowing traffic to pass. Great idea, great skit and great presentation to the judges. They have a second category, Technical. This is where they take the robots to the "table" and get interviewed by the judges. They have to talk about team work, their captain, the computer programs etc. Team #739 got all but two excellents in this category. Third group is Team Work, aka Gracious Professionalism-apparently they did well here also. Fourth, and final, is the table. The teams get three chances to "run the table". They score points based on what they knock down, what they leave up and what they end with. For example, they want to knock down the walls but keep the access markers all standing. They want to knock the truck down the ramp or cross the bridge. It's very complicated programming and it's actually a nail biter to watch.

Team #739 was once of the youngest teams there today and they did awesome. They scored 20 points on the first run and 60 on the second. The final run they got 135 points landing them into the finals at 5th overall. WAY TO GO!! As parents and teachers, we have no clue how the standings are and when our team was called in 5th we went nuts. It was so great to see the kids so excited! What a long but awesome day!

Regionals Bound-Chalker team #739

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