Eagles Nest comes in second in robotics

  • Friday, January 31, 2014

Provided Eagle Nest Elementary School robotic team back from left, Bobby Harrelson Jr.,  Jared Glickman, Tessa Lawrence and Brennan Gillgrist, front, Skyler Rigney, Amaya Smith, Logan, Lewis and  Maddox Samuels.

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Eagle Nest Elementary School’s (EES) Robotics Team “The Eaglebots” took second place in robot performance at the regional competition, which was held at River Oaks Middle School on Jan.18.

Sponsored by First Lego League (FLL), this annual competition is composed of the following parts: the Robot Design, the Robot Performance, the Project, and the FLL Core Values.

This year’s theme is “Nature’s Fury.”

Teams consist of two to 10 students who range in age from 9 to 14.

At EES, the team members are fourth and fifth graders who have auditioned to be part of the team.

This year’s Eaglebots are Brennan Gillgrist, Jared Glickman, Bobby Harrelson Jr., Tessa Lawrence, Logan, Lewis, Skyler Rigney, Maddox Samuels and Amaya Smith. Coaches are fifth grade teacher Jamie McDowell and third grade GATE Teacher Charles “Peco” Sanders.

Teams have to design a robot, which competes in timed missions. “When we began choosing the design of our team’s robot, we each created a version and we voted on the best,” explained Brennan Gillgrist.

Programming the robot entails using a computer to dictate movement commands, which are then uploaded into the robot. Then teammates select the commands they want the robot to follow in order to complete missions such as moving or collecting items on the board.

Points are awarded for each completed mission within three minutes.

The robotics team also has to create and present a project based on the annual theme. This year, the Eaglebots designed a way a house can be shielded during inclement weather. “I liked the skit we presented with our project. It was a version of The Three Little Pigs where the wolf is a tornado. I got to dress in a ghillie suit and play the part of the tornado,” said Maddox Samuels.

Lastly, the teams are judged on working cooperatively as a team and problem solving while maintaining professionalism.

“We had three minutes to create a 3D robot out of 100 pennies. It was really cool,” said Amaya Smith.

“I enjoy being on the robotics team because of our different personalities,” said Tessa Lawrence.

Coach Charles “Peco” Sanders added, “It is kind of neat to watch how these students mesh together because they come from different grades and different classrooms. There is a process they have to go through to learn how to become a team. That is a huge part of this competition.”

Coach Jamie McDowell is proud of the Eaglebot’s success, which he attributes to their hard work and dedication.

Next, the Eaglebots will compete at the state level competition on Saturday, Feb. 15 at River Bluff High School in Columbia.

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