On 29 Nov, Two Teams from the Y9-11 Island School Robotics Elements Class participated in a VEX IQ Challenge robotics competition at Victoria Shanghai Academy. In this Elements Class, students design, build, test and document a robotic solution to the current year’s VEX IQ Challenge. This year, the VEX IQ Challenge is called Full Volume and students need to create a solution where their robot can manipulate and score a variety of blocks.
The Teams were nervous on arriving at VSA, ‘When we got to VSA, we thought that our robot wasn’t that good. It was literally falling apart’, but over the course of the day they learned that their hard work and perseverance in preparation would pay off!
There were 22 Teams competing at the VSA competition, with over 100 students creating an impressively noisy atmosphere. Most games are played as an Alliance, so it is imperative that students share tactics and abilities in order to score well. As our students gained confidence, their attitude changed: ‘when we achieved a good amount of points in our first few games, we thought “We might actually have a chance”’. After the qualifying rounds (with Alliance matches and individual Skills matches – both Autonomous and Driver Controlled), one Team (the “Knee Guards” – Kary, Jack and Karsten) actually found themselves in first place, with their Engineering Notebook making the difference (there was a Team that had scored more Points on the Challenge Fields, but they had neglected to record their robot design and build process, strategy, and testing etc).
Teams moved forwards into the Finals Matches. This sees similarly scoring Teams working together in order to find the overall winners. Having won the Qualification Round, the Knee Guards were matched with the second placed Team. This proved to be the winning combination as expected and this Alliance won the competition outright. Unfortunately, there was only one Winners’ trophy, so these top two Teams went head to head for the overall win. As the students commented: ‘After all the rounds were done, we got second place. We were 2 points behind first place and were so close. Although we were disappointed, we still learned a lot from this experience.’
Indeed, there were only 2 Points between one Team and the overall victory, but, as pointed out, the experience was most important. Both IS Teams suffered problems and had to overcome adversity during the day, yet both triumphed in learning new strategies and interacting with peers who brought a different set of skills, abilities and ideas. We look forward to ‘our’ competition here at Island School on December 9, and hope that the rest of the Island School Robotics students benefit and enjoy the visit from competing schools.