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Leon County School Hosts Robotics Competition for Area Students

Rickards Robotics Student
Posted at 12:59 AM, Jan 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 05:59:37-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (#WTXLDigital) - Students from Rickards, Godby, and SAIL High Schools gathered together on Friday for a common goal; to get robots to throw little balls into two nets.

The competition was a way for students to practice using the robots they built for the VEX robotics competition which is held in Orlando in February.

Alexander Olsen is a student with the Octo-Pi-Rates, a robotics club that originated at SAIL but spread to include students from all across the district. Olsen explains that the game is like basketball for robots.

"[The competition] is called "Nothing-but-Net" and we had a kit from VEX robotics and we had to put it all together into a kind of robot that basically plays basketball in a way. There are two goals, a high goal and a low goal; the high goal is worth more points and the low goal is worth less points and you just try to get [a ball] in one of them," said Olsen.

Every team participating in the match had a different way of getting balls into the goal.

One of the robots just sat at the back of the playing field while a student loaded balls into the top of it. The balls would fly across the playing field, right into the goal. Then when the student ran out of balls, the robot drove around the field to pick up more to play with.

Another team from Godby was spent the evening working on their bot; they only received their kit with all the supplies to build the robot the night before.

The Rickards High School robotics team, R-Cubed, hosted the match. This is the first year the school has had a robotics club of it's own.

Despite the fact that the club is so new, Rickards students stepped-up to host Friday's competition. Their teacher, Jane McDonald, said the students helped build the field, invited the judges, invited other teams, and organized the event.

And while those students got to learn about hosting a competition, all of the participants worked on skills that will help them outside of the competition and in the classroom.

"Robots are a huge field right now, both in space and oceanic exploration as well as the medical fields... And so for students to get an opportunity to get hands on experience, and think, and problem solve; now it can help excite them and inspire them to join -- to pursue this kind of career," said McDonald.