• Jan. 3, 2020

    Robotics team earns high marks

    Gear Grinders A team of Fort Couch Middle School students earned two first place and one third place award at the VEX IQ robotics tournament – qualifying the team to compete in the state/regional championship as well as the CREATE U.S. Open. The team – Gear Grinders – is comprised of seventh graders Owen Bell, Ian Dvorin, Ryan Hyatt, Rohan Mehta and Carlee Santel.

    The Gear Grinders team, competing against 21 teams from throughout the region, earned first place for the Excellence Award, the highest award in the competition; first place in the STEM Research Project competition; and third place for teamwork. The event was held on Dec. 13, 2019, at Keystone Oaks Middle School. 

    The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Research Project Award is presented to the team that shares the most effective research. This award demonstrates the students’ depth of understanding of the season’s STEM topic and their research findings.

    The Gear Grinders researched information about how robots are used to clean up plastic in the ocean, making our planet more environmentally friendly. For their submission, team members wrote and edited a script highlighting their findings and produced a 4-minute video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tclFdEdJfE8).

    The Teamwork Challenge was “Squared Away.” Played on a 4’x 8’ rectangular field, two robots compete as an alliance in 60-second long match, working collaboratively to score points. The teamwork award is based on a team's performance throughout a series of matches with a variety of teams.

    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.”