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View Full Version : Fall mini-competitions for HS students


patrickrd
06-16-2001, 11:43 AM
Do other teams out there hold mini-robotics-competitions in the Fall to get HS students excited about robotics and [hopefully] spend a lot of time on the actual FIRST robot? Our team is considering starting a mini-competition next year. We would like to keep costs minimal (no more than $500). What type of products do you allow students to construct "robots" out of? Legos (mindstorm)? Remote controlled car chassis? Others? What works and what doesn't? Any interesting game ideas?

Thanks
Patrick:D

David Kelly
06-16-2001, 11:55 PM
We're thinking about holding community and school wide competition using the little robot controllers that Innovation FIRST sells. Maybe a game about the size of the FLL comps and robots with a 25lbs. weight limit using erector set type metal to build the bots. We're pretty sure we are going to do this. We just have to commit to it and start making a game for them to play. We're sorta leaning toward a game that involves interference with another bot. Hopefully it'll work out all right.

Andy Baker
06-17-2001, 12:48 AM
The TechnoKats have hosted various mini-competitions over the years. Here are some examples:

From '95 - '97, we had a "Pop Can Ragatta". It wasn't a robot competition, but the students divided up into teams and constructed "boats" out of pop cans, and raced around the pool. This got our team to work together and they bonded pretty well.

From '98 - 00, we hosted the "TechnoKat Challenge" it was a one day mini-competition. Teams came in from North-Central Indiana to play this game. Each team would be provided 3 things to make their robot:
... a drive base
... a box of Capsela mechanisms
... a crate full of "kit materials"

The drive base was a set of tank treads from a toy backhoe. The team put in tons of work to get these drive bases to the point where they were able to be handed to the teams on comp day. We tore off the top and just had the treads. A LEXAN plate with a matrix of holes was attached. Two electrical leads were exposed on top of the LEXAN plate, so that the Capsela mechanisms were able to plug in to power.

The drive base controller had to be beefed up a bit, because they were kinda fragile.

The Capsela kits contained gearboxes, two motors, and many parts that could couple together to make things move. Many teams made arms or clamps out of the capsela mechanisms.

The kit materials were anything from foam board to string and thin sheets of LEXAN (1/32"). After a few years, we limited the amount of duct tape, since many teams would mummify their robots in duct tape if they had the chance.

This past year, 2001, we decided to host our own FIRST competition, the "IRI". Since we were adding this competition, we decided to drop the TechnoKat Challenge.

In my opinion, hosting the IRI was alot easier than hosting the TechnoKat Challenge. The hard thing about the Challenge was that we had to provide everything for the teams to construct the robots, develop the game, and host the competition. With the IRI, we only had to host the competition. The competition is bigger with the IRI, but the game is already developed, and teams bring their own robot (of course).

Our third TechnoKat Challenge had 20 teams. Some teams were disappointed that we dropped it, but we thought that we got more results from our effort with the IRI.

Last fall, we were concerned that our TechnoKat Challenge stuff (drive bases and capsela kits) were not going to be used. They were just going to sit on the self and collect dust, until another team came along and borrowed them for their own competition. Our team appreciates that our efforts to develop this stuff is being put to use for a worthy cause. The team who borrowed this stuff last year is also going to use the same stuff this year.

Putting on a mini-comp is alot of work, that's for sure. If you want more info, please ask.

Andy B.

Mike Soukup
06-17-2001, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by Andy Baker
Last fall, we were concerned that our TechnoKat Challenge stuff (drive bases and capsela kits) were not going to be used. They were just going to sit on the self and collect dust, until another team came along and borrowed them for their own competition. Our team appreciates that our efforts to develop this stuff is being put to use for a worthy cause. The team who borrowed this stuff last year is also going to use the same stuff this year.

'The team who borrowed the stuff' really appreciates it. Thanks for letting us use the kit for our team's mini-competition. It gives our students a chance to work with each other in small teams and learn on a small scale what the real competition will be like. Based on the student's evaluations, we'll encorporate the mini-comp better into the class and start it earlier this year.

Mike