Robotics breaks school records

In the Middle

This year, the KO Middle School Robotics team placed second out of 30 teams in the Regional tournament. They achieved even more when they moved on to the State competition.

So many people signed up for the club that the students had to be split up into two teams based on their experience with robotics. Team 1 was led by robotics teacher Mike Ligon, and Team 2 was led by Middle School math and robotics teacher Megan Farrell.

Each team worked very well together and earned some of the highest scores they had ever achieved, scoring 144 and 106 points, some of the best in the State competition. “I liked seeing how the teams worked together and competed for the first time,” Mr.Ligon said. Head Coach Ligon thinks there are two reasons for their newfound success. First, there was a lot of interest in being a part of the team from the student body. They also competed in the Farmington Regionals this year instead of the Hartford Regionals, as in the past.

Upon arrival at the Regional competition, both teams realized that they needed to step up their game if they were going to win against their skilled opponents.

The teams worked hard and achieved two great scores; Team 1 scored 82 points while Team 2 gained 69 points. Their scores allowed them to move to the State competition, an amazing new achievement.

At the State competition, the teams earned gigantic scores with Team 1 snatching 144 points and Team 2 seizing 106 points out of about 350.

Team 1 remodeled their robot after the first competition.“Team 1’s score was a result of their changes,” Coach Ligon said. “After the first competition, they changed their robot to a gear driven system.” This improved system gave the robot a new burst of power to excel in the State competition.

Coach Ligon also complimented Team 2. “Team 2 improved their score using their teamwork, combined effort and will to win,” he said.

Now that the competition is over, the robotics classes have individual projects where they are creating machines to solve real world problems.

Two experienced roboticists, eighth-graders Joe Nathan and Brendan Mastella, have some amazing new ideas for their life changing robots.

Joe loves to ski and he knows the risks of getting buried in snow, so he decided to create a robot that digs out skiers and saves them. “It will move up and down the hill and dig around in the snow to find and rescue stranded skiers,” he said.

Brendan on the other hand enjoys a pristine outdoor environment which led him to creating his Eco Cleanup Robot.

“It can maneuver around many different types of terrain and pick up the trash left behind to keep the environment clean and make public places more enjoyable for everyone,” he said.

Next year the hard working students can look forward to joining the Robotics Club at the Upper School.

Current students in seventhgrade should be ready for a great experience if they decide to take robotics as an elective next year.