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Competing with VEX

Mackenzie+and+Cameron+competing+and+the+Wawasee+event.
Mackenzie and Cameron competing and the Wawasee event.

Mackenzie and Cameron competing and the Wawasee event.

Mackenzie and Cameron competing and the Wawasee event.

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VEX Robotics is an organization that connects students with their peers and instructors to accomplish one common goal: build a robot. Each year schools from across the country work together in small groups on building a new robot. Every June VEX releases a new objective for the season. Teams then build their robots in order to complete this group of tasks. This year’s competition is called “In The Zone.” In this event, the robots are required to either stack yellow cones on a tall post or the “mobile goal.” The other task is for the robots to move said “mobile goal” into one of the corners of the arena. If a robot stacked a cone, it would be worth 2 points. On the other hand, if you moved a mobile goal into the corner it would vary from 5-20 points, depending on how far into the corner it was.

This year “The Iron Kings, the Lewis Cass Robotics team, switched from First Robotics to VEX Robotics. This means that instead of just building one robot for our school, we could build multiple. We now could form smaller groups out of our big team. I think that this transition to Vex was beneficial because now everyone could work in a smaller group and become more hands-on with their robot. This year we made the switch halfway into the “build season” of the robot, so we were a little more behind than most schools.

Our team’s first competition was on the on the 2nd of December, but my team (Zach Fields, Caleb Johnson, and I) had not begun building our bot yet. One of our other teams here at Lewis Cass was done though, so they went and achieved fourth at the event.  After that competition was completed, we began our building process. We determined that we wanted our bot to be able to pick up the mobile goal and not focus on the yellow cones yet. We made this decision because we wanted to go for the objective with the higher point value. Our next competition was on the 6th of January which left us in a time crunch.

After about a month of the building, we finally had our first competition. This would be a new experience for our whole team due to the fact that none of us had dealt with VEX competitions. Our competition was held at Wawasee Middle School, about an hour and a half away from Lewis Cass. Going into the event Zach would be the driver of our robot and Caleb and I would relay to him how much time he had left before the match was over. After a few matches were complete, we began to get a feel for what the do’s and don’ts were. Later on in the event, after every team has played eight matches, the top 8 teams out of the 41 would pick teams for the playoffs. Sadly, our team was not chosen in this process, but the same team that went to the last event from our school did get chosen by a team captain. That team went on to lose in the first round of the “playoffs.” My team ended up finishing 23rd in this event.

Overall, I think that the conversion to Vex was beneficial to the students.“I like that we can make our bots the way that we want to and adjust them how we want,” said Sophomore Caleb Johnson. Last year on the robotics team there was only one bot that everyone had to work on and not everyone got an equal chance to experience the building and or driving. With VEX it gives the students a way to get more involved in the hands-on of building and driving a robot.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Competing with VEX”

  1. Caleb Johnson on January 19th, 2018 1:09 pm

    i really enjoyed reading your article because you described what you did at the competition. I was there too and i enjoyed competing against other teams with you and Zach. Now I’m excited for the next competition, Great Article!

  2. Kelsey Wise on February 20th, 2018 9:30 am

    I think it is neat of in depth you went into explaining the ways of VEX and the rules of the competition. I had no idea what or how anything at the robotics competitions work and your article gave me an insight of what goes on in your guys’ commpetitions. Really great job.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Competing with VEX