Tomorrow’s Engineers Robotics Competition
Year 7 & 8 team win best robot design!
Zara, from Year 8 was head of the build crew and has reported on the team's experience.
"On 28 February, a group of 10 Year 7 and 8 pupils, went to Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton for the regional heat of Tomorrow’s Engineers Robotics competition. The first challenge was the speed challenge, which was lead by Zara and Elspeth. We were ready and raring to go but just as we were about to start the race, one of the programmers noticed a fault in the programme. It turns out that the programme was only set to do half the distance! Some quick thinking and working under pressure and it was sorted in time for our second chance and we achieved a respectable run of 3.45 seconds.
After the speed challenge we presented our robot designs to a team of 2 engineers, where we gave a thorough explanation of how we built our 2 robots. We included: where we got our ideas from, how we overcame some problems and how we made the robot go to its full potential. We had many elements that we thought would give us the advantage including a metal ball in a socket, which would help the robot turn, and the judges seemed to like it. Elspeth, Sareena, Evie and I were the main builders so we were very happy when we found out that we had won the robot design challenge!
We then focused on our main robot which had been designed and programmed to complete a series of different challenges based on a mat. These were completed under timed conditions which added to the level of pressure. Tasks included programming our robot to do a ‘showcase’ dance, retrieve engine parts, hit a barrier control to ‘secure the area’, retrieve an aircraft Lego model and transport to a loading bay, collecting humanitarian aid store and lifting it into position, collecting a Lego engineer and climbing a ramp. We had a few malfunctions but luckily we had time to go through it again, so we were ready for our second chance. The engineers praised us for our tenacity and our ability to review and make improvements and we achieved a much better result during the second run.
One of the main challenges was the teamwork challenge. Our task was to build a raft to go down a steep ramp to transport some Lego people, but the complication was that it had to stop before it went off the table. We tried to several ways including putting a weights and a wall at the end of the ramp and successfully managed to stop the raft!
Our final challenge was the presentation, which was put together by Jolie. It was on how engineers can support humanitarian aid. We had independently researched and learnt about the use of drones in delivering aid during emergencies, we learnt about other technologies such as solar powered phones and lights powered entirely by gravity. After the presentation, a pair of engineer judges asked us questions so we needed to think on our feet and impress them with our knowledge. The judges were particularly interested in the lamps as they had not heard of them.
I got a lot out of the robotics challenge, such as learning how to work effectively as a team and how to overcome problems, quick and calmly. I definitely think that I would be interested in going into an engineering career after school."
Zara Peel Year 8
Gallery of the team in action.