Team 4149G, the Iron Chargers, from Grygla Public Schools, won the Excellence Award at the Dream It. Do It. Central Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament on Saturday, January 25 at the River’s Edge Convention Center. The tournament was hosted by St. Cloud Technical and Community College. By winning this award, the team earned their second invitation to the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in Anaheim, California. The second World Invitation was given to team 6488A, Fosston A, from Fosston High School, for having the highest score in the Programming Skills Challenge out of the three Dream It. Do It. Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournaments.
The Iron Chargers (4149G) were also part of the three-team alliance named Tournament Champions, along with their fellow Iron Chargers team from Grygla, 4149C, and team 1080P, the Boss Botz, a Boy Scout troop from Cold Spring. All three teams received an invitation to compete at the CREATE U.S. Open Robotics Championship, a national competition in Omaha, Nebraska. The second Iron Chargers team also won the Design Award for their professional approach to their design and their documentation in their engineering notebook. The Boss Botz received second place in Robot Skills and received the Judges Award for their work on their robot and throughout the tournament.
Another St. Cloud team, 6793A, named X-Bot from Stearns County 4-H, were Tournament Finalists along with two teams from Windom, 7192, the Windom Eagles A Team, and 7192B, the Windom Eagles B Team. These teams also performed well, with X-Bot winning the Energy Award for their spirit and enthusiasm throughout the tournament, the Windom Eagles A Team winning the Think Award for their impressive autonomous programming.
Other awards were:
- The Build Award for a well-crafted robot to Team 4499B, A-I, from the Bemidji Civil Air Patrol
- The Create Award for a creative engineering solution to 4448A, the RLF Eagles from Layfayette High School
- The Community Award for community involvement and awareness to Team 3864, Lancaster Robotics from Lancaster Schools
- The Sportsmanship Award for sportsmanship and professionalism to Team 2845A, Osseo Destroyers, from Osseo Senior High
- The Teamwork Award for competing and communicating well together to Team 7458F, Fisher Knights, from Fisher High School
- Programming Skills Finalist to Team 4003A, Team Seniors, from Bagley High School
Fifty-one teams attended the tournament in St. Cloud. To prepare for the tournament, each team learned the game Toss Up, which involves maneuvering large balls into different zones, stashing small balls into containers and hanging robots from a bar at the end of the game. They designed, built and programmed their robot using the VEX Robotics Design System, using their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They also learned an equally important set of skills, including communication, critical thinking, project management and teamwork.
Many of the Minnesota VEX Robotics Teams competing, including the award winners, received VEX kits from colleges that are part of 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, including St. Cloud Technical and Community College.
The Dream It. Do It. Central Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament was one of three tournaments in Minnesota. These tournaments are part of more than 400 tournaments taking place throughout the 2013-2014 season, engaging more than 7,300 teams from 26 countries around the world.
The Dream It. Do It. VEX IQ Tournament, the first VEX IQ tournament held in Minnesota was also held. Two invitations to the VEX IQ Championship were awarded to Team 6793C, Bot Attack, from Stearns County 4-H and 10008, The Metal Heads, from St. Peter and Paul School in Richmond, Minnesota. These two teams won the Teamwork Award, and Bot Attack won the Excellence Award.
VEX supporters recognized
Two awards were given to individuals who help make these tournaments possible. Laura Reese, the coach of the award winning Lancaster Robotics team, received the Mentor of the Year Award. Andrew Dahlen, an instructor from Northland Community and Technical College who works with Reese, states, “Laura Reese is a passionate science teacher and VEX Robotics Mentor. In the future I think that the students of Lancaster School will be grateful that Mrs. Reese insisted they work hard and apply themselves.”
Sandy Fabian from St. Cloud Technical and Community College was given the Volunteer of the Year Award. She was recognized for her efforts at VEX Tournaments since they started in St. Cloud.
The Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association was recognized for their continued support of the VEX Robotics Tournaments in St. Cloud. They have supported the tournaments hosted by St. Cloud Technical and Community College since they began. Les Engel, president of the association, accepted the award.
Preparing students for careers
“These tournaments are a fun and educational opportunity for these students,” says Aaron Barker, event coordinator and energy and electronics instructor at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. “They have the opportunity to build their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills while also learning about career opportunities where they can use these skills in advanced manufacturing. Today’s manufacturers want to have employees like these students.”
The Dream It. Do It. VEX Robotics Tournaments in St. Cloud were led by 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence. Additional support came from Park Industries along with other area companies and manufacturing associations.
Photos from the day are posted on Dream It. Do It. Minnesota’s Facebook page. To learn more about Dream It. Do It. Minnesota, visit dreamitdoitmn.com. More information about the VEX Robotics is available at Roboticseducation.org and RobotEvents.com.