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Wetzel County Schools Holds Robotics Competition at WCTEC

By Holly Cain - for the Wetzel Chronicle | Jun 2, 2021

For the whole month of May the middle schools of Wetzel County were invaded by robots! Using multiple Lego Mindstorms kits on loan from NASA’s Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility, located in Fairmont, West Virginia, WCS students were provided with the resources to design, build, and program their own robots. Ms. Holly Cain worked with Mr. Mark Roberts’s science classes at Long Drain School and Dr. Eric Emch worked with Mr. John Jennings’s science classes at Short Line School.

First, students learned about the planet Mars and the conditions there. They also learned about the history of the Mars Rovers. Next, working in teams, students had to build their own robots and begin to program the robots to do basic movements. The next day the students were shown the 8 specific tasks they would need to program their robots to complete. These included jobs such as collecting rock samples, placing a satellite, launching a rocket, and deploying a Mars Outpost. Team members were allowed to design and build various attachments to help them complete these tasks. Each day more complex movements were added to the robot programming. After many trials and errors each team formed a Mission Plan. On the last day, a Mission to Mars Robotics Competition was held. Each team had 5 minutes to run as many programs as they could to complete as many of the 8 tasks possible, each worth different points. Some of these programs were previously created and some were created on the spot. Whichever team had the highest score at the end were the winners. Certificates were given for each grade level, as well as for overall highest score.

The Long Drain School winners included: 6th Grade: (two teams tied) Madison Morgon, Cheyenne Ramage, Camden Sapp and Samantha Bordine, Ava Tuttle, Trey Fletcher; 7th Grade: Hailee Watson, Aliyah Shreve, Kylee Morris; 8th Grade and also Overall School Champions: Delila Goddard, Tationna Adams, Cody Piper; The Short Line School winners included: 6th Grade: Cason Haught, Koleton Kincaid, Evan Utt, Kana Detamore, Jacob Myers; 7th Grade: Emma Gump, Storms Addams, Emily Wiley, Emily Shimp, Alyssa Teadrow; 8th Grade and also Overall School Champions: Gaige Royer, Alan Cain, Ramey Harrison, Andrew Shaw, Adden Kuhn

On Wednesday, May 26th, both of the Overall School Champion teams met at the Wetzel County Technical Education Center for the 1st Annual Wetzel County Schools Robotics Championship. The competition was kicked off with a presentation by Sergeant Taylor of the West Virginia State Police. Sergeant Taylor demonstrated Down Range Doug, one of his department’s bomb robots. Students were able to see the robot in action, learn about the robot’s specifications and many uses, and ask questions.

Next, students were given the specifics of the competition, which involved not only a repeat of the Mission to Mars they had done at their home schools, but also included Hazard Harbor, an original scenario created by Dr. Emch based around natural disaster response. Some of the new tasks included clearing debris, replacing bridges, vehicle and person recovery, and launching rescue boats.

Teams were then given a long period of time to build, plan, and then practice with each scenario. At 1:30pm the final competition began. Both teams were given 5 minutes to complete Mission to Mars and then an additional 5 minutes to complete Hazard Harbor. The scores for both scenarios were then added. In the end the team from Short Line School came out on top and were declared the 1st Wetzel County Schools Robotics Champions. Each team member was presented with a custom commemorative photo frame, a box of Legos, and a trophy designed and created by Hundred Ink of Hundred High School.

Ms Cain and Dr. Emch would like to thank the following people for their help in making the 1st Annual WCS Robotics Championship a success: Mark Roberts, John Jennings, Paul Huston, Denise Geeene, Jackie Shepard, Pam Christy, Rex Rush, Mark Batton, Jill Fox, JoBeth Simmons, Kathy Hoffman, Terry Green, Quinet’s Catering, Bre’s Cupcakin’ Around, Ben McPherson and crew, Ted Sumner, Tammy Wells, Josh Revels and NASA.