Recently, a small group of youth in 7th, 8th and 9th grades recently had an incredible opportunity to attend the VEX Robotic Worlds Championship in Louisville, KY. While at the event, this small group of budding engineers had a chance to put their new-found knowledge to the test and became great ambassadors for the state of UT in this competition.
It all started with Ms. Constant, a science teacher at Syracuse Junior High School in Syracuse, UT. She found an incredible program through the Robotic Education & Competition Foundation that sponsors the VEX robotics program. The Vex Robotics program fosters “student development of the teamwork, critical thinking, project management, and communication skills required to prepare them to become the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.” (Website). The program introduces the students to a new programming language that the robots understand. She started the VEX IQ Robotics Club at her school, and now mentors 24 students who are curious about robotics, and want to expand on their new found engineering skills.
Over the past school year, the students have consistently built upon the skills they have learned through the club. They then took those newly developed skills and talents and went to participate in a state-wide competition here in Utah. This competition enabled the students to test their knowledge in working with different materials, motors and design structures. By working together, 2 of the 4 teams were selected to advance to the World’s Championship in Louisville, KY.
Unaware of the fact that they would even qualify for the state level competition, Ms. Constant and the students were challenged with finding ways to financially get those two teams to the Worlds Championship. Knowing the potential burden that travel costs could present to a number of families. The students decided to reach out to a variety of corporations and ask for support towards their travel fund.
Jared Sawyer, a father of one of the students and a Project Engineer here at Biomerics asked if we (Biomerics) would be willing to support these two teams by making a contribution to the travel fund. Biomerics stepped up to the opportunity and offered a gift-in-kind to support those expensive costs, “Costs that would have to have been covered by students. We are so very grateful to Biomerics for making it possible!.” Jared said, “It feels great to work for a company that cares for, and supports the communities where their employees live!” Supported by other donations from other corporate entities, the 2 teams were supported with more than enough monies to attend the World’s championship games.
The VEX Robotics World Championship is an annual event that engages 1,400 teams from over 30 nations worldwide. The Syracuse students were part of the VEX IQ Challenge Middle School World Championship. Their challenge was to design and build a robot that crossed over a bridge from one area to another of a designated space. They had to move differently colored hexballs from the other side of the bridge and bring it back to their own area. Ms. Constant said, “It taught them to think quickly on their feet, and act fast in order to build a robot they thought would get the job done and beat its competition.” It also taught them planning and problem-solving skills as they moved to different levels of the competition. Throughout the competition, students had opportunities to meet and speak with many world leaders in the science and engineering community including NASA, Google, Texas Instruments, and Boeing. Workshops were also available for the students to expand their knowledge in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM).
After more than 4 days of competition, Team 90049A, advanced in their division to place 9th out of 306 teams. Team 90049B, placed 32nd in their own division. Ms. Constant said “this program, and competition has opened new doors to the students they didn’t even know existed. It’s given them a unique experience that they can now share with other students, and other schools who may be interested in onboarding this program into their own schools.”
Biomerics wishes to congratulate all of the Syracuse Junior High school teams for working so hard through the year and we celebrate their victories at the World Championship games.
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