GMS ready to host, compete in FIRST Robotics competition

Greenwood Middle School is hosting the first Indy South League meet of the FIRST Robotics season this Saturday.

The meet will take place Saturday, with competitions starting at 10:30 a.m. until about 4 p.m.

“This is the third time that Greenwood has hosted an event and the first event in the season,” said Chris Campbell, GMS technology teacher and robotics coach. “We like hosting these events because it brings awareness to robotics and STEM education.”

Every year teams from around Indiana take part in FIRST robotics competitions. Each team is required to complete a certain number of tasks which they will be given points for, but they must build the robot on their own, as well as code it and design certain parts. FIRST encourages students to participate in STEM activities as well as building important lifelong skills such as teamwork and gracious professionalism.

Competitors come from seventh to 12th grade. FIRST also hosts a competition for younger students where they build and program LEGO robots.

“Our challenge this year is to take cones and stack them on small, medium, or high junctions, and create a continuous circuit with alliances,” said Ishani Shah, a high school team member.

There are two robotics teams representing Greenwood schools, a high school team called Green Machine, and a middle school team called Wired Woodmen. The teams are separate and compete against each other at competitions, but they help each other out and suggest new ideas.

The 24 teams competing Saturday are coming to Greenwood Middle School to participate in this year’s challenge called “Power Play.” Four teams besides Green Machine and Wired Woodmen also come from Johnson County.

“The build team assembles a robot that actually performs. They give us what we have to compete with. The program team enables the robot. CAD is the basis of checking if they will work or not, and the Engineering Notebook team outlines the robot and the process it took to build it, so that we can look back on it,” student Hunter Cogdill said.

Each section is vitally important to the team, if the team members can’t work together then there is no possibility that either team can move forward.

“My biggest fear is if our code fails, but I’m mainly excited to be able to experience this for my first time” new team member Olivia Webster said.

This year 80% of the middle school team is new and team members are nervous about this first competition.

But older members are also anxious, they said.

“Last year we had trouble with the gripper and had to replace it three times, but this year it looks like we’ll only have to replace it once,” veteran team member Olivia Forester said.

New and old team members alike can agree that despite the fact that they are nervous, they still are excited.

“Without failure, success isn’t as great,” Forester said.

This year the whole team is excited about the competition. If they win they will be happy, but they all agree that if they lose they will see it as another opportunity to succeed.

This story was submitted by Annie Brinker, an eighth-grade Greenwood Middle School student.