Saturday, October 19, 2013


For the past six weeks,
Tyler and Brandon
(as well as the other 8 members of the team and their dads, and sometimes moms)
have spent hours and hours (and hours!)
designing and building (and for the parents, facilitating and helping build)
a robot.

It's not all been smooth sailing
and as of last night, they were still finishing up the building and programming,
so they spent very little time actually practicing with or using the robot.

this was taken Thursday night ~ they had to take the bot
completely apart because of a problem with a center piece.
Brandon said, 
"It's pretty sad. If we don't go on to Regionals, our robot will be disassembled the day after it got finished."
"We spent 6 wks building a robot
for  5 - 3 minute battles." 

our tiny little homeschool team,
The Other Guys
fought hard and played well 
and won 2nd place in robotics in the Best Robotics Competition 2013
and will advance to the regional championship in December!!

We're pretty proud of our team!
They worked really hard, learned a ton, and did an excellent job.
They've figured out a few things that they need to do differently in the future.
For instance: as with all teams, it took a few weeks for everyone to get comfortable with each other
and figure out their roles within the team.
Getting the team together earlier
and doing some team building exercises and a small project 
would allow them to jump right into designing the robot as soon as the assignment is given at the competition kick off.

There was sooo much more to the competition as a whole than just the robots,
and we actually didn't do real super in some of those areas.
Not horrible, mind you, but we fell a little short of excellent....
Fellow students and fans loved Tog's booth;
they had a couple of mini-bots and a little game set up, similar to the real robot competition that people could play,
but the judges didn't really feel like it really inspired people to want to go into maths and sciences.

bad picture - but you can see some of their booth...

And they didn't document their work enough.
We also didn't have enough fans, in their opinion,
and the fans that were in attendance 
apparently weren't loud and flamboyant enough for their liking.
I'm not sure they took in to account the fact that our team was quite small, with only 9 members.

* a few of the teams brought along marching bands (we were competing against public school teams, as well as another homeschool team) and they would march around the stadium.  Lexi wanted to join 'the parade'. The students were sweet to her and high-fived her. One girl gave her a little pompom, and another time, she just went up and marched along side a boy and he held her hand for a few minutes and marched with her. 

yet another horrible picture taken from clear across the arena - but you can see how happy she was to be in the 'parade'

As far as the robot competition goes:
in a (very small) nutshell
There are 4 'playing fields'.

each color is a separate playing field

Only the driver and spotter (the one who controls where the robot goes, whereas the driver controls what the robot does)
are allowed on the playing field during the competition. 
(They can have 1 assistant to help them get the robot set up - they've got 30 seconds for that)

They use the robot to move rods and hangers and puzzle pieces to earn points.
Ultimately they can 'collect' enough of these pieces to 'build a computer'
but I don't think even the #1 team got that far.

I don't mean to brag, but this handsome guy was a big asset to the team :-)

in this one - the robot has a puzzle piece

here he's got a rod

it's in!!! 10 points!

aannddd ~ times up. Stop!

Team Tog had lots of trouble with their robot and various electrical issues.
The other teams were all very helpful in offering assistance and parts.
So even though it was a competition - there was lots of camaraderie, even among the teams, not just within the team.
There were also a couple of teams there who had so much trouble with their bot,
they didn't even get to compete,
but still the hung around, and worked on their robot - exemplifying perseverance.
I'm kinda sad for them. How bummy!

All in all, I think it was a very good experience for Brandon
(although, admittedly exhausting for the fam)
and he'll likely want to participate if our homeschool group puts together a team next year.
But right now,
he's got some more work to do
to get ready for Regionals...




  2. Soo proud of him and his team! I was a little nervous on Friday when it wasn't finished yet but I knew they'd get it. :)

  3. Oh my! That looks like so much fun! I'm so impressed with it all. I wish there was something like that here. Great job!

    (just wondering-is the young man next to Brandon left handed?)

  4. Mom ~ I thought about inviting you last minute - but when I wasn't sure if they were even going to end up having a robot to compete with, I decided not to...

    Tony - I know!! And then the first 2 rounds - the robot malfunctioned... I really didn't expect them to place. They would have blown everyone else out of the water if the robot was working correctly every time AND they fully understood the scoring system from the beginning.

    K ~ Bran doesn't think any of them are lefties, but he can't be sure. Now you've got me wondering why you asked ;-)

    love you ALL!!

  5. sooo cool! great job guys!! so smart! interesting observation, kaylana...his arms are crossed the opposite way everyone else!


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