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Explorer students take 2nd and 3rd place at first ever robotics competition


Last updated 1/15/2020 at 1pm

Photo courtesy of Derek Donahue

Explorer's Robotics Club competed in their first ever robotics competition Dec. 14. The event featured 42 total teams from local schools.

Two teams, two robots, one 4-foot space.

Three robotics teams represented Explorer Middle School at the VEX IQ Robotics Competition in Lake Stevens Dec. 14.

The competition, hosted by Cavelero Mid High School, featured 42 teams from across the northwest. But Explorer's Robotics Club held their own, especially considering it was their first competition ever.

"I didn't know what to expect," said student Alicia Jones.

Only 16 teams of the 42 progressed to finals. Team Crabosaurus Chad made the first cut and went on to place third overall. The team was comprised of Jones, Brendolyn Faulconer, Rosza Ngor, Guljamal Eshmuratova, and Nick Lopez-Ramire.

Team We Tried also made it to the finals, placing second overall. This group included Joseph Na, Aayan Malik, and Jonathan Lee. There were only four points between the first and second place teams.

Team Chop Sticks also did well for their first ever competition. The team featured Daniel Zhu, Minh Nguyen, and Nathan Na.

Jones said the challenges focused on collecting points by programming robots to pick up red, blue, and green blocks or small orange balls-all within 60 seconds. The students used controllers and chain mechanisms to lift blocks and move them.  

She said two teams from different schools are paired together at random for the competitions. It forced the teams to cooperate with one another and work together, Jones added.

At one point, Team Crabosaurus Chad took apart and restarted the robot. Jones said they had to problem solve and make modifications. They even scoped out other teams' robots to see what they were doing to be successful.

"I've become a little more confident in myself," Jones said. "The problem solving aspect helps in real life."

Jones said the Robotics Club meets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout most of the year. The students started out by figuring out how robots work and learning how to "piece together modules."

She said the club has jumpstarted her interest in STEM and coding, and fueled excitement for what the program can do at Explorer.

The club has two more competitions this school year.


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