Coronado robotics scrimmage Feb. 18 - 'Steamworks' this year's themeCoronado High will host its fourth annual multi-team robotics scrimmage Saturday, Feb. 18.
Free and open to the public, the event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the school gymnasium. Coronado is at 1590 W. Filllmore St.
Engineering teacher/robotics coordinator Bryce McLean said he expects 15 to 20 schools/clubs to bring in the robots they've been working on.
Coronado is the designated District 11 high school for the robotics game that's announced each January by a nationwide private engineering organization: FIRST
As a result, the robot must be built differently each year. For example, last year's robot could only be 14 inches tall as part of a recycling theme, while this year's version - called “Steamworks” - requires robots that can shoot “fuel” items (plastic yellow balls) into a “boiler,” deliver plastic, functional gears to drive a rotor and climb into an “airship.” In some parts of the game, the robot must be able to operate as coded; in other parts, student "drivers" take charge of the units.
Robotics is extracurricular. The “vast majority” of the 52 D-11 students in the program are Coronado students, McLean said.
Members of the team four years ago built a basic arena for the first scrimmage, and each year the next group remodels it as needed for the new game.
During the scrimmage, teams take turns practicing with their robots in the arena. Teams also spend a lot of time making repairs and/or tweaking the functionality of their machines in a designated area in the other half of the gym.
Robotics lasts about three months in all. There's a January-February time frame for robot design/construction, followed by formal competitions in March.
The operation is modeled after that of a business, including a CEO. This year's is junior Madison Rutherford.
Participating students take on various roles, from mechanical work to fundraising to online updates to reaching out to the community.
Coronado's outreach efforts have earned the team special FIRST awards in the past. “We have participated in many different outreach activities this year,” McLean said, “including the What If Festival, Cool Science Carnival, Safe Treats in Old Colorado City and many smaller events at schools and libraries.”
What's the biggest challenge with building this year's robot? “Getting all of the mechanisms to fit into such a small volume while still having room to carry the fuel (the yellow balls),” he replied.
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