Robotics gaining popularity in schools

By Staff
Nathan Strickland
Russellville City School Robotics hosted an engineering and design competition for students to express their creativeness in constructing vehicles from recycled or “found” materials.
A total of 14 students were registered to compete ranging from grades 5-8, but only seven were able to complete all of the requirements.
Competitors were asked to construct a vehicle made from recycled material that would travel at least five meters. An engineering notebook was also required to describe the design of the vehicle, list the materials used and an explanation on the vehicle was tested. Competitors used everything from toy car motors, MP3 battery cases, clock motors, and parts from a DVD player to make their vehicles mobile.
RCS Robotics sponsor Lee Brownell competitions like this help out students explore the possibility of having a career in fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The design process counted for 50 percent of the scoring. Teachers and members of the RCS robotics team served as judges for the competition.
Guest Speaker Jack Frederick of Raytheon kicked off the event. Raytheon is a unique technology company and a world leader in defense electronics, with a broader range of products, service and capabilities. The company is known for its work with radar and missile guidance systems.
Frederick has worked on rockets for NASA and said he feels like he doesn’t work, he gets to play, doing what he loves to do.
After the speaker shared his thoughts on the field of engineering, the seven competitors took to the line to see if all their hard work had paid off. Some vehicles were slower than others, but all the competitors were able to complete the five-meter requirement for distance. Charlie Gordon took the award for grades 3rd-5th and Andrew Heap walked away with the trophy representing 6th-8th grades
Last year’s competition involved the creation of slingshots, launching marshmallows for distance. There have been talks of constructing rockets for next year’s competition but nothing has been set as of yet.
The RCS Robotics team is in their second year and will compete in their big competition coming this fall.

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