Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

3 Years in 3 Minutes


Entry ID #: 1406
Created: Mon, Jan 13, 2014 8:26 PM

Our entry for the Texas Team "What Have you Learned Video" is titled "3 Years in 3 Minutes" and reviews what we have learned as 4 high school VEX participants and seniors about to graduate. Q: How did your team select its members? A: Our team began with the coincidental matchup of Aaron, Abee, and Matt on the first day of high school during robotics class. We all sat at the same table in the classroom, having never met each other before. We came from different backgrounds but quickly became friends and competed in our first Vex competition, Round Up. Since then, we’ve gone from a new and confused team to one that has advanced to the World Championships twice among winning many other awards. Q: What is the most important component of your robot construction and why? A: We believe that the most important component in robot construction for every game has been simply having a fast, and powerful drive train. VEX games are played on a relatively small field and require continuous quick movements. We realized quickly in Gateway after going up against robots with 6-motor drives geared quickly that if a robot can move rapidly and defend itself it will be tough to compete with. Q: What do your team members feel is the most important lesson they have learned as a result of participating in the VEX Robotics Competition? A: One of the most important lessons we have learned from VEX is time management. Competition days are hard deadlines, and in order to be competitive a team must meet that deadline with only a small amount of time to work. How do we schedule workdays when all of our members can show up? How do we know that we are going to meet the deadline? It takes a lot of planning and consistent working. Commitment and focus are key aspects to being a strong team. Q: What obstacles did your team have to overcome while designing and building your robot? A: One of the biggest obstacles we all faced at the start of VEX was learning how to understand and comprehend the build system, programming, and competition strategy. We learned everything through observation and testing. Figuring out what works in VEX through trial and error has taken us several years, but new teams could speed up this process by learning alongside more advanced teams.. The idea of community is a central aspect of education in robotics. Rather than restricting the knowledge you learn in VEX, why not share it with others? What makes VEX special is that it is similar to the real world and is a community of friendly competitiveness. Q: Who are the sponsors who made it possible for your team to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition? A: We have been extremely grateful to have so many sponsors for our school’s robotics program, which is well funded and supported by strong partnerships with Texas Instruments, Flextronics, and the University of Texas through our mentors. Sponsorships provide a lot of useful resources and also give students early access into the broader world of engineering and STEM careers. Q: Why does your team think it is important that all students have access to robotics programs? A: We want all interested students to have access to build systems like Vex , which is affordable and accessible to many age groups, because robotics has the ability to inspire through competitions that are challenging in good spirit and make the work fun. Robotics is a gateway activity into the applications of STEM. By starting robotics early in educational systems, students can follow a progression from more focused and introductory build systems like Vex and VexPro to advanced mechanics, electronics, programming, PWM control, etcetera. Robotics programs help lead kids into wanting to go further into a specific area, giving them ideas for what they might want to focus on in a future career. It keeps STEM an attainable goal for students who typically only experience it secondhand. Robotics is a jumpstart at what is possible in the future. It is an incredibly inspiring field to work in. - Team 2158M ausTIN CANs


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