Spartan Robotics began this year as a way to encourage students to engage in collaborative problem solving using the engineering design process.
In the club, students use the VEX IQ platform to plan, design, and program a robot for competitions. This year the game the students are playing is called Spin Up and involves students collecting a hockey puck style disks from one of five different dispensers, and then shooting them to the other side of the play field for different point values.
During competitions, student teams work in combination with another robot during morning qualification rounds to score the most points possible. During the rounds, two students have to share driving responsibilities and all team members will have an opportunity to drive. Their morning qualification scores allow them the ordered rights to prove their afternoon rounds partners during the final rounds of each tournament.
Additionally at tournaments, each robot team will have three tries to score as many points possible on the field by themselves in both driver controlled and fully autonomous modes. These scores make up their Skills Score ranking where they can be compared to other robot teams across the world participating in the same challenge.
Nineteen Spartan Robotics members are participating on six different robot teams this year. There is one middle school team, and five elementary teams (two – 3rd grade teams, one – fourth grade team, and two mixed elementary grade level teams). Each team chose a common team name based upon the theme of Catholic Saints. They include Titus, Macrina, Maximus, Xavier, Drausnius, and Dionysis.
Teams will compete in two VEX IQ tournaments this year, one on November 5th and a second at the end of January. At tournaments, students can win awards to qualify for the State Championships in Appleton, WI in February. Each team is interviewed by judges at the tournament and submits a design journal explaining their design process.
The club was started by Rice Lake High School Warrior Robotics Advisor Jeremy “Pete” Peterson and five other parent mentors. Additionally, five students from The Rice Lake High School Warrior Robotics team are volunteering to assist the teams as the kids learn to program and work with the parts.
It was funded as a collaborative effort between St. Joseph School, grants from the Education Foundation of Rice Lake, and registration fees charged to each family.