We had a fantastic final day for our summer series exploring robotics with the Cheshire High School Mecha Rams. The teen and adult mentors were amazing and taught our G3 scientists so much about how to think like an engineer, how to think like a programmer, and how to use some very interesting software to make the LEGO® Mindstorms robots come to life.
At the start of the day, our scientists broke into their teams from Day 2 (The Cyber Rams, The Mechanical Monkeys, The Iron Cheetahs, and The Metal Dragons) and began to really get hands-on with the computer programming and actually using the controllers to move the robots around the obstacle course that came with the Mindstorm kits. When everyone had a handle on how to maneuver the robot, we began a series of timed runs within each team to see how quickly each team member could complete the obstacle course.
The obstacle course required more than just steering the robot around a track. Our scientists had to remove obstacles from the track, as well as align a sensor on the bottom of the robot with key markers on the track. Going too far astray from the track resulted in penalties (time substracted from the final time it took a driver to complete the course overall).
When all individual team members had completed a full, timed run of the course, our adult mentors calculated the average time it took each team to complete the course. [This was done by adding all team members’ times together, and then dividing by the number of team members who completed the course.] The results gave us an overall results lists for our teams in this final day of competition:
FOURTH PLACE TEAM: The Metal Dragons
THIRD PLACE TEAM: The Mechanical Monkeys
SECOND PLACE TEAM: The Cyber Rams
FIRST PLACE TEAM: The Iron Cheetahs
Then, the top drivers were selected from each team to compete and see which single driver could take the high honors of the day for having the quickest run through the obstacle course. In the case of the Cyber Rams, two of the drivers were so close in time that they were able to send two members to the final individual competition. The final standings for “Best Driver of the Day” were:
FIFTH PLACE: Steven from the Cyber Rams (1 minute, 23 seconds)
FOURTH PLACE: Ethan from the Metal Dragons (1 minute, 6 seconds)
THIRD PLACE: Isak from the Mechanical Monkeys (50 seconds)
SECOND PLACE: Manny from the Iron Cheetahs (36 seconds)
FIRST PLACE: Zachary from the Cyber Rams (33 seconds)
In a very dramatic turn of events, Zachary (who competed early), lodged a protest with our mentors due to a change in how we allowed drivers to fully remove debris from the course once an obstacle (a small rubber tire) was properly pushed off its mark. At the time that Zachary did his first run, we had suggested that the debris needed to remain on the course where it landed. So in proper competition format, Zachary was allowed to file a protest with the “judge,” and our adult mentors agreed that he had successfully supported his case and earned a second run at the course. Well done, Zachary!
A big “thank you!” to all of the Cheshire High School Mecha Rams – both the teens and their adult mentors – for making this summer very exciting for our G3 scientists. Hopefully we’ll get to continue working with the Mecha Rams for summers to come. Enjoy the video below that shows all of the terrific work our G3 scientists and their mentors did on this final day of the robotics series 🙂