United Kingdom News
On Tuesday 9th January, six teams of young and enthusiastic STEM students attended the practice ‘scrimmage’ of the 2018 VEX Robotics Competition at Goldington Academy, Bedford.
The competition was undertaken by Lockheed Martin’s Outreach team in place of the usual Techbox tournament in the hopes of taking outreach to a national level. In previous years, the events have been based around an engineering challenge such as building a 3D printer, Rube Goldberg Machine or an ‘Egg Rescue Module’, with the aim of encouraging and promoting STEM subjects to schools in the local area.
Students from four local schools were provided with over £500.00 worth of VEX Robotics equipment with one goal in mind- design and build a competition robot capable of competing at a national level.
The VEX tournament involves two teams working against another two teams as part of the red or blue alliance. The ultimate aim of the match is to score the most points as an alliance by stacking and moving cones into different zones on the match field. This is started by an autonomous period of 15 seconds, followed by a further 1 minute 45 seconds of manual remote control play.
Supported by regular visits from a selection of Lockheed Martin Ampthill’s 2017 Early Careers intake, the competing schools set up and run Robotics Clubs during lunch breaks and after school for students aged 10-14 to develop their skills and interest in Science and Engineering. Each team within the associated schools produced one robot which they will enter into the Bedfordshire tournament of the competition, hosted by Lockheed Martin.
Goldington Academy, who are kindly lending their facilities for the events, had over 30 applicants for the tournaments, resulting in eager students fundraising their own registration and equipment fees; enough to enter a total of four teams! That’s another four robots added to the arena.
The scrimmage held on Tuesday was a practice event of twenty five matches per team, which prompted huge successes, catastrophic failures, creative design developments and a roller coaster of emotions for all those participating. The students were fully engaged with the day’s events and got to develop their skills not just in engineering; but in socialising and communicating with their fellow alliance competitors through the world of STEM.
The tournament finale will be held on Wednesday 31st January, hosting a series of knockout matches between the alliances. With one spot at the UK Nationals up for grabs, the teams will be in tough competition with the other local schools and even some far-out visitors such as a Kings College London.