West Robotics will Rock their first competition on May 14th!


Graham Murphy, reporter

West Robotics has been going strong since September and they have their first competition this Saturday, May 14th.  

In Robotics, kids in grades 6-8  have the opportunity to construct robots by themselves with only a little help from the coaches. But they don’t just build the robots, they also code them. “The program we use is javascript with some block coding,” says Graham Pirre a 7th-grade member of one of the two teams at West.

Robotics is separated into two groups, a team that meets every Tuesday and one that meets every Wednesday. This is so more people can join and they can choose the day that better fits their schedule. They meet at West now but at the beginning of the year, they met at Canton High School. When robotics first started, kids voted on what they wanted to name their team. The Wednesday group decided on Iron Dogs and Tuesday decided on Bionic Bulldogs.

On May 14th, the robotics teams will compete at Carlson High School in Gibraltar, in an obstacle course to score points, and whoever scores the most points wins. They will also be judged on their planning ability. An overview of the competition can be found here. Last Sunday (May 7th) the Bionic Bulldogs and the Iron Dogs met together for an extra session to run through and practice what is going to happen at the real competition.

At Robotics, there are coaches that are there to guide the kids, but not to do the work. “At first, the coaches helped a lot because the team didn’t know what they were doing, but now kids work more individually, ” says Ryan Janson, an 8th-grade member of the Tuesday team. 

The robotics teams have come a long way from the beginning of the year. Ryan says that the team is almost done with the robot and just has to work out a few minor things. “One of the things we use on the robot are these special wheels called mecanum wheels that let us go diagonal,” Graham says. Graham also says that we have different things on the robot that will let us score more points in the competition. Some examples of that are an elevator with a claw and a wheel at the top that spins a carousel.

 Mrs. McKinley is one of the robotics coaches and has helped a lot with getting robotics back up and going again after it had stopped for several years. She helped make robotics happen this year. Without her, the team probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to compete and there might not even have been a team. Everyone in robotics is grateful for the work she has done to organize the teams.

Mrs. McKinley thinks her 6th-grade son Ben will join robotics again next year. Ryan is an 8th grader so he won’t be at West next year but still plans on continuing robotics in high school. Graham also says he will participate in robotics next year.