The Watonwan 4H Robotics Team completed their first competition on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis. There were 25 teams competing divided into two divisions.
The team consists of youth from around the county with two third graders, two fourth graders, two fifth graders and two sixth graders.
The team coach Nathan Ruhlig, with assistance from Shannon Sykes and Jamie Quiring worked with a group of youth who did not know each other, weekly starting in November and built them into a working team. At their competition they placed fourth in the core values category.
Some of the commentsfrom the judge’s sheet were:
“Team is enthusiastic and fun; clear identity.”
“Good balance between team responsibility and coach guidance.”
“Good communication for such a large team”
The team also won the Innovative Design Award for their division. This award was presented to the team best demonstrating its ability to use a creative design, component, or unique strategy of play for the most original approach to solving the Missions.
“This team mounted motors vertically to raise the NXT brick so they could mount the attachment motor very low on the robot,” said coach Ruhlig. “The motors also served as a part of the robot structure.”
On Monday, March 11, the team met for a pizza party in celebration of their successful season.
They evaluated their last season and started planning their future. The team discussed what their favorite part of robotics is and they were evenly divided between designing, programming and competition.
They also discussed what life skills they thought Robotics would teach them and they came up with computer skills, competitive skills—dealing with success and failure, and teamwork.
Nick, Ian, and Cole all commented that the competition was fun, not too serious, and a chance to meet new people.
Michael’s favorite part was the tournament with the challenge of competing plus seeing all the different robots. Mark thought that winning the Most Innovative Design Award was exciting. And Gavin thought it was a great and interesting experience to go to their first competition.
Coach Ruhlig thought it was neat seeing youth from different towns and different grades come together and use their different strengths and talents to create a working team. The team score was one of their highest placing. Ruhlig is looking forward to seeing what the team will accomplish or build on for next season.