Robot Challenge Watch Out There's A New Generation Challenge in the Wings

News / February 25, 2008

Throwing an inflatable ball over a 6-foot-6-inch overpass has taken on a new meaning for EHOVE students.

For the second year in a row, students enrolled in USA EHOVE’s College Tech Prep Engineering program entered the “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Overdrive” robotics competition.

The nationwide contest requires the teams to build a robot that grabs and throws a 40-inch inflatable ball over a specific height while circling a track.

The College Engineering Tech Prep class, a partnership between EHOVE Career Center and BGSU Firelands, has been working with local engineers and Plum Brook Operational Support Group to apply their knowledge of mechanical design, robotics and physics to the project.

The timeline to build the fastest, most efficient ball launching robot?

Six short weeks.

"Students have had nothing else on the brain but this robot," instructor Jim McIntyre said. "They come into school with ideas about how to fix a problem we've encountered, and they are relentless in their pursuit of improvement. It's exciting to see their enthusiasm, and it's contagious. This contest has a lot of appeal in making engineering cool."

The competition is the ideal platform to encourage and focus the mind towards an objective. A further hidden key is the fun involved. It is amazing what can be achieved individually or team based with a degree of lateral thought applied in problem solving. The real challenge is at what age should the process start? Modern classroom resources in ICT are becoming fun based through a range of educational games. These include robot design and programming for ages 5 – 15 years. such as the Constructa-Bot

Perhaps the challenge in future years will be taken over by the current generation of kids benefiting from these educational games. Maybe we will see a sea change in the challenge inspired by these new teaching resources for schools and parents.

Alistair Owens Keen 2 learn.

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