By Megan Wilson
GAYLORD – The Gaylord Middle School Robotics team took part in its qualifying meet at the Petoskey High School on November 11th.
“I believe that this is the third year for the program at Gaylord Middle School, this was my first year advising it,” said Robert Innis. “We receive our funding for this program from grants, what I plan on doing with the money for next year is upgrading our equipment.”
The robots are coded using a programming language and controlled using video game controllers and smartphones.
“The kids code the program in the school’s computer labs, and I debug it,” said Innis. “Working with the Middle School students has definitely been more challenging for me than the high school students, they are a larger group, it is comprised of 34 students which are split into two groups, but they come eager to learn and apply the principles that they have learned in an application setting,” said Program Advisor Michael Rinke.
At the qualifying meet, robots are judged on several different merits.
“The challenge has multiple events, the robots are scored based on how well they do on each event,” said Kevin Hubert First Robotics Robot Inspector. “During a match, there is a period of time where the robot autonomously performs a task, after that the driver controls it for a certain amount of time, usually matches last approximately two and a half minutes.”
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and its member state associations champion interscholastic sports and performing arts activities because they promote citizenship and sportsmanship in the 11 million students who participate nationwide.
“For me, I feel that working on teamwork skills is a big thing,” said Gaylord Middle School 8th Grade Student Ethan Gohl. “We are also learning programming language skills, there’s really a lot of different aspects to robotics competitions, programming and strategy as well.”
The Middle School Robotics team is finished for the season and is looking forward to next year’s competition.
“I just wanted to say that I am really proud of the kids, and I’m really looking forward to working with them next year,” said Innis.
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