Duck Springs Robotics Club headed to world competition

March 22, 2019 chris
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By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

Duck Springs Elementary School started its Robotics Club this school year, and it is off to an awesome start.

At the VEX IQ Robotics District Competition, five teams of fourth through sixth graders competed and qualified to attend the state competition, where all five teams made it to the finals.

The team recently competed at the VEX IQ Robotics State Competition held at Auburn High School and hosted by Auburn University, S.C.O.R.E.(Southeastern Center of Robotics Education) and the REC Foundation (Robotics Education and Competition Foundation).

Competing against 55 teams, two Duck Springs teams placed in the Teamwork Challenge. The Duck Springs 2221B team won the VEX IQ Teamwork Champion and qualify to participate in the VEX IQ World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky. Duck Springs 2221C team won third place and qualified to participate in the world competition.

Each year, the VEX IQ Robotics introduces a new game that teams must build robots to do the game’s tasks. This year, the game involved navigating their robots to stack cylinders in the goal area. Stacked cylinders are worth more points and two yellow cylinders, placed at an elevated level are also worth more points. The students build and program the robots for the competition.

“We started building in August,” said Duck Springs Robotics Coach Genia Craft. “It took about three months to build the robot and get it perfected.”

Another aspect of the competition is an autonomous program that students build themselves.

During the Teamwork Challenge, teams that are competing against one another are paired up to cooperate to do their tasks. During the world competition there will be a new challenge for the teams. Because the students are from around the world, translators will be provided to help the teams communicate.

“If we’ve built anything it’s teamwork,” said Principal Suzanne Nance. “We’re really proud of them.”

Sixth grader Gabby Smith contributes the teams’ success with teamwork to friendship.

“We’re all friends here,” said Smith. “I think we all sort of have the same mindset for strategies.”

The Duck Springs Robotics Club is currently hard at work trying to raise money to travel to the competition. Students have been voting by putting a dollar into a jar to pie a teacher in the face. Principal Nance says that she is currently winning and is expecting to receive a face-full of pie on March 22.

On April 4 at 6 p.m., the Robotics Club is hosting Run 4 Robotics at Moragne Park in Gadsden. The entry fee is $5.

On April 15 from 5 to 8 p.m., the Robotics Club is hosting a Chick-fil-A Spirit Night at the Chick-fil-A on Fourth Street in Gadsden. A portion of the food sold during that time will go to help the team attend the World Competition.

“They are so excited,” said Craft. “They enjoy it, and they work hard.”