Eminence’s two elementary teams competed this weekend in a blended tournament. This means their opponents were either elementary or middle school teams. We have never had robots and teams ready to compete this early in the season before. Despite going against older, tougher competition, our teams finished 14th and 15th out of 28 teams. One of our teams made the finals. We hung in after some early adversity, and climbed the standings most of the day. The day’s biggest takeaway was that we’d need to come home and redesign some elements to improve our chances to qualify for the state tournament in one of our following matches.

They next compete in Brazil, Indiana on December 7th. This tournament is elementary only, so we expect both teams to place high.

We’ve included some pictures from the event, a video, and some frequently asked questions.

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What is the VEX Robotics program?

VEX Robotics Competition has over 20,000 teams across more than 40 countries. Using the same sorts of kits, teams design robots to accomplish tasks that score points. The robots are driven using video game-style controllers for the teamwork challenge, but they can also be programmed to run autonomously in skills competitions. The kits and game rules are different for VEX IQ (for elementary and middle school) and VEX VRC (for high school.) We have teams at each level.

How does this game work?

Two teams are working together in an alliance to score as many points as possible in one minute. Each team has two drivers that must hand over the controller between 25 and 35 seconds into the match. Green cubes placed on the pedestals score 20 points each, and blue or red cubes moved from one end of tthe field to the other, and placed in the scoring zones score 10 points each. Orange balls placed in the cubes that are in scoring zones score one point each, and those placed on top score 2 points each.

Why do the same students drive all the time?

Robots are designed by a team of two or more students, but only two students are drivers. Success at a competition is shared with all students on the team, even though the drivers can seem like they get the spotlight. Drivers are determined by which students on the team do best in practice runs leading up to competition. A designer that did not drive at this competition could take a drivers spot for the next competition by being one of the best two drivers between now and then.

How can I get involved?

We are hosting our own tournament on January 25, 2020. We are looking for concession stand workers, referees, gophers, announcers, scorekeepers, etc. Reach out to dadams@eminence.k12.in.us if you or your organization would like to volunteer. We have training materials available for all volunteer roles. It takes many volunteers just like you to hold a successful competition. This also brings in the money necessary to continue this exciting program.

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