Thief River Falls, Minn. – This past weekend, over 200 students competed at the Dream It. Do It. Northwest Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament held at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls. Thirty-nine different teams from 20 different schools and organizations competed throughout the day.
The action-packed day required middle and high school students to execute the VEX Robotics Competition game “Nothing But Net.” The game is played by scoring colored balls in high and low goals and by elevating the robot in a designated climbing zone. To prepare, the students apply what they have learned about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to build the semiautonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition, including communication, project management and composure.
Team 4149C, the Iron Chargers, from Grygla Public Schools, won the Excellence Award for being the top all-around team. They also won first place in Programming Skills and Robot Skills. Additionally, they were on the alliance named Tournament Champions with team 1535Y, named S.A.M.E., from St. Cloud School District 742, and team 6024G, named 8th, from Fosston High School. Team 1535Y also received special recognition through the Judges Award.
Team 3682A, the Bearcats, from Kittson Central School, team 4149G, the Iron Chargers, from Grygla, and team 4409A from Warren Alvarado Oslo High School were Tournament Finalists. Team 4149G also won the Design Award for their organized and professional approach to the design process.
Each of these teams qualified for the Dream It. Do It. Minnesota State VEX Robotics Tournament, which will be held Jan. 29 and 30 in St. Cloud. There, they will compete for invitations to the World Championship Competition.
Additional awards were given throughout the day. Team 4448A, the RLF Eagles, from Lafayette High School, won the Amaze Award for their well-rounded, top performing robot. Team 6793A, the X-Bots, from Stearns County 4-H Robot-X Club, received the Sportsmanship Award for their courtesy, enthusiasm and professionalism throughout the day. Mike Nielsen, coach of the Fisher High School robotics teams, received the Volunteer of the Year Award for his years of dedicated coaching. Digi-Key Electronics was recognized as Sponsor of the Year for their support through sponsorships and employees volunteering for VEX Robotics tournaments.
“It is amazing to see how teams who have access to the same materials create innovative robots to compete in VEX Robotics,” says Andrew Dahlen, an electronics instructor at Northland Community and Technical College and robotics coordinator. “This is similar to the challenges faced in business and industry. I hope that the VEX Robotics Program continues to grow and encourage our youth to pursue exciting careers in manufacturing.”
Many of the teams who attended the tournament are supported by Northland Community and Technical College and Bemidji State University by receiving robotics kits and attending scrimmages as part of Northland and BSU’s work with 360, a manufacturing-based center of excellence.
The Dream It. Do It. Northwest Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament is one of several qualifying tournaments for the Dream It. Do It. Minnesota State VEX Robotics Tournament sponsored by 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence and Dream It. Do It. Minnesota.
360 and Dream It. Do It. Minnesota have led VEX Robotics in Minnesota, helping youth connect their interest in robotics to opportunities in modern manufacturing. Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association (MPMA) also a platinum sponsor for VEX Robotics through Dream It. Do It. Minnesota, providing kits to local teams.
Local support for the Dream It. Do It. Northwest Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament came from DigiKey Electronics and Central Boiler as gold sponsors and Philadelphia Macaroni Company as a silver sponsor.
To learn more about Dream It. Do It. Minnesota, visit dreamitdoitmn.com.
About Dream It Do It Minnesota
Dream It. Do It. Minnesota, led by 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence, collaborates with industry to promote careers in manufacturing in Minnesota. Dream It. Do It. Minnesota is also supported by Midwest Manufacturers’ Association, Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, and Tri-State Manufacturers’ Association. To learn more about this program, visit dreamitdoitmn.com.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to operating and supporting competitions for some of the world’s leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA and BEST Robotics Competitions, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators – including the RobotEvents.com community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.