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South Hackensack Students Take the Robotics Challenge

SoHack_robotics_team_with_trophy_pic1_2016What do you think of when you hear the word “robot”?  Do you picture the loveable Wall-E or the unstoppable Terminator?  Well, for the students of Memorial School in South Hackensack, robotics has taken on a whole new meaning.  This school year, they placed first in the high-rise stacker challenge (Dec. 2) and second in the Bankshot challenge (Mar. 2) hosted by the South Bergen Jointure Commission as part of the VEX IQ Robotics Competition.

The Memorial School robotics team consists of a small group of students who, for the first time, put their engineering skills to the test to go up against nine other schools in southern Bergen County.  The object of the high-rise challenge was to build a robot that could grab blocks of the same color, bring them over a goal line, and then stack them into a tower.  The Bankshot opened a whole new level of challenges as the goal was to knock balls off of a ramp, deposit them into a goal, and then park the robot on the ramp.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) is an essential part of 21st Century Education. The robotics program is a perfect example of modern-day education. The students started out with a paper and pencil sketch of what each robot should look like.  Next, they went to work building their designs. The initial bots were put into action on the test field. After several revisions, the team members knew they had bots suitable for the challenges. Then they had to go to work programming, testing, and mastering the controls. The team spent weeks preparing for three minutes of performance.

Both competitions consisted of three rounds. In round one, each team was able to remotely control two of its robots simultaneously. The second round offered the opportunity to show off what the bots could do as individuals. Finally, the autonomous round required that a robot make its maneuvers with no remote control, relying completely on its own programmed instructions. The robotics program at Memorial School really gave the group the chance to show that creative thinking, strategy, and teamwork make for a winning combination.

Pictured: Tamara Ashkar, Mauricio Perdomo, Brandon Sarango, and Jordan Perdomo, Coach: Chris Masullo (rear)

 

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