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Students from the RAL and MM Participate in FIRST Robotics Competition

Students and mentors from the R.A Long (RAL) and Mark Morris High School (MM) competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), which was held at the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle.

After six long weeks of grueling work their robot was almost finished with a design not much like the humanoid seen in the movies but on the whole it was a good effort.

FIRST was created mainly as a non profit organization to foster and nurture science and technology and is funded by a group of corporate sponsors for the past 22 years. The RAL and MM team participated via the WSU Extension 4-H program.

Austin Ashcraft, right, and Alex Boyd check wheels used to make part of their robot able to climb up a vertical pipe in the shop at Mark Morris High School as they get their entry ready for a 4-H robotics competition.

According to Jennifer Leach, a school board member of Longview, they were one of the eight counties in the State of Washington to participate. She had approached Bob Koenig who is the shop teacher at Mark Morris for this project. Koenig collected 17 students and also 13 mentors who volunteered to build the robot. The funds were provided by J.C. Penney, the State 4-H program awarded $6500 to each county team for the robot parts and entrance fee, along with $3500 for extra materials. Koenig mentioned that WSU’s 4-H not only told them about the game and what was to be done for winning the game but also gave three bit boxes full of parts. The design part was left to the team to decide on but the final product should be able to finish a set of tasks during the course of the game.

The robot which was named as Lucy weighed 120 pounds and was 5 ft tall and the testing done on the robot was recorded on a video. The video showed Lucy powered with a 12 V battery moving with jerky movements on the floor. The unit was controlled by a joystick, which would be operated by a team member

The robot had to be completed and packed into a wooden box within the specified time. However, last minute changes could be done by the mentors and kids on the day of the game. The different tasks were divided among the team members and completed after which the robot was weighed. The students all learnt to use hand tools and other life skills.

Source: http://www.longview.k12.wa.us

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