Manitoulin Secondary School teams to take part in First Robotics competition

In photo is the Manitoulin Secondary School Mustangs “First Team 6865 (Rookies)” team robot, that the team will be using in the 2018 First Robotics Competition.

M’CHIGEENG—The Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustangs First Team 6865 (rookies) team is ready to take part in the 2018 First Robotics Competition.

“We are taking part in the First Power Up 2018 Robotics Game this weekend as we are heading to Georgian College for the competition this weekend,” said MSS Student Success teacher Allan Davy, the lead mentor of the MSS team. “There will be over 32 teams taking part in this district meet.” As of press deadline he pointed out that students J.D. Herehly, Doug Robinson, Emily Savage (designer of the team logo), Cassandra Kuntsi and Ben McDonald will be attending.

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“Yes, we have a robot here that we made that is all bagged up and ready to go to the competition,” Mr. Davy told the Recorder. He explained, “basically our team of students had six weeks to build a robot, with the kickoff the first weekend of January. That’s when the ‘challenge’ was released. Competitions are being held by students and schools world-wide.” The arcade-themed challenged was unveiled to more than 91,000 high school students worldwide at the 2018 First Robotics Competition season kickoff.

“We had to digest the game challenge manual and build our robot,” said Mr. Davy, who added that the the idea of the game is to get as many points as possible to win.

“One of the nice things about the game is that you have to work with other teams in the competition,” said Mr. Davy. “You form alliances and, depending on what your robot can do and the other teams you are allied with, try to complement what your team robot can do.”

“It can be quite daunting,” Mr. Davy said, referring to the game manual. He explained the manual is 133 pages long. “We had to take that and, through video, strategize as to what we think we could make our robot do. Our robot can act as a conveyor belt system, moving around milk crates covered in fabric called ‘power cubes’.

“The game has a scale and switches and the idea is to keep ownership of your switch, by blocking the other team,” said Mr. Davy.

The online description of the game explains, “under strict rules, limited resources and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to design a team brand, hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.  It’s as close to real-world engineering as a study can get.”

First Power Up finds First Robotics competition teams trapped in an eight-bit video game. Each three-team alliance has three ways to help defeat the boss: tipping the scale or the alliance’s switch in their favour to earn points; exchanging power cubes for power ups (force, boost and levitate) to gain a temporary advantage during the match; and climbing the scale tower to face the box. The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match, defeats the boss and wins the game.

By participating in First Power Up, students gain confidence to explore the innovation process while learning valuable science, engineering, technology, teamwork and problem-solving skills.

“It’s been fun,” said Mr. Davy, noting that he himself has an engineering background. “This whole thing fits in well with my background. “We want to thank Wikwemikong High School and Lo-Ellen for helping us in this process with ideas and pointers.”