• Dec. 11, 2018

    Sixth graders excel at robotics challenge

    Team Gear Grinders  A team of Boyce Middle School sixth graders earned three first place finishes as well as the Excellence Award at the VEX IQ Challenge tournament – advancing to the state/regional championship competition in March 2019. The robotics team, the Gear Grinders, is comprised of Owen Bell, Ian Dvorin, Ryan Hyatt, Rohan Mehta and Carlee Santel.

    The Upper St. Clair students – all sixth graders – competed against 22 teams of sixth through eighth graders from throughout the Pittsburgh region. The event was held on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at Marshall Middle School in the North Allegheny School District.

    The team earned a total of three first place awards including Robot Skills – garnering the highest scores in both programming and driving; Teamwork Award – working with a partner to complete robot tasks on the field; and STEM Research Project Award – using Fortnite as an example, showing how math is used in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The team also received the Excellence Award, the competition’s highest honor.

    “It was an exciting day, especially in the Teamwork Skills competition,” Kim Hyatt, Ryan’s mom, said. “Gear Grinders were the last match and the team before them had just posted the highest score of the day. The Gear Grinders had to score more points in order to win, but they never scored that many points before…until that moment!”

    The Upper St. Clair team won by one point.

    “I couldn’t be more proud of this young team for the way they handled themselves at this competition,” Mrs. Hyatt added.  

    According to its website, “in the VEX IQ Challenge, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play with other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Classroom STEM concepts are put to the test as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, communications, and more. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels and culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship each April.”