This year the robotics competition was really fun. This is basically how it works at the competition: This was the first competition for everybody doing the FLL (First Lego League) program. There were different competitions for every borough. Because our school is in Brooklyn, we for the most part all live in Brooklyn, we went to the Brooklyn competition at the Van Siclen Community Middle School in East New York. But there were also competitions for the other boroughs besides ours so one for Manhattan, one for Queens, one for the Bronx, and one for Staten Island. For the Brooklyn Competition, there were 17 teams from all over Brooklyn.
This was the agenda for the day: We first settled in. Then, at about 9:15 a.m, everybody went up to the opening ceremony, where they tell you about everything we needed to know for the tournament and we sang songs, it was pretty cool. After that, we all headed back down to practice at our pit and made sure everything was ready for our next 3 big activities: The Robot Design, Research Project and Core Values. They all are worth points depending on how you and your group did in each of them. The judges add up all of the points together at the end which is what qualifies you for the next tournament, the Citywide Tournament.
The robot design is about the missions you do and the design of your robot and how sturdy/efficient it is (we’ll get into more detail about that later). For the research project this year, because the theme is water, you had to find a problem about how we either use, transport, dispose, or find water. Then you need to make a solution for it and make a whole informational poster with your group. The Mission Masters, our team, researched lead and how to keep it out of our water. Also our other PS 8 team, the Tech Titans, researched Combined Sewage Overflow and how to prevent it from happening. Finally, we did the Core Values project which is a poster on how you work together as a robotics team and even outside of robotics and school too! After you show off your poster, you and your group have to do like a small activity together. This year we had to solve a puzzle, getting the water from one end to the other with puzzle pipes. NO PARENTS OR TEACHERS ALLOWED! This is a kids only thing! No help from the adults. We go in all by ourselves and look out for each other. It can be nerve-wracking, but fun. But it feels good when it’s all over.
After we do all of that, we get taken back to our tables downstairs, tell the parents about our wonderful journey – and get back to practicing. We kind of snacked here and there, had some stuff. And then we headed out for the robot game. There are 3 rounds in the robot game. There are a minimum of 2 people per mission table in each round, a maximum of 3 people but only 2 people at the table, the other person stays back. I have no idea why, but that’s just how it is. The mission pieces are made out of lego. When they are completed, they are worth a certain amount of points, the map looks something like the picture below.
They add up your scores from each round and will project them on to the robotics leaderboard on a computer projecting an image on the wall. Each round they show you your team, your total of points and even rank you by points. PS 8 was so psyched we qualified in the top 6 teams which means we go the Citywide TOURNAMENT! And that pretty much sums up how it went down. Now, if you want to read the full experience, emotion after emotion, just keep reading!
Leading up to our time at the tournament we were working really hard to perfect our missions on our robots and our research project. Our research projects were about getting lead out of water in our water system, our other project is about sewage overflow and stopping it. We also worked hard on the robot game for our missions and making them perfect. After the main parts of the tournament were all over, we went to the ending ceremony where we got to dance around until it was time to hear the awards. At first we were pretty nervous but when we got called up four times we knew that we did great. Since we got four awards we got to take pictures and celebrate with our team, friends and family. It was an experience of a lifetime! Then we got to go home after a day of hard work and started preparing for the next tournament that’s on March 11th, you can come support our team there.
By Annabel S. and Wilder C.
Class 5-304 and 5-304