Collegedale Adventist Middle School’s seven-member team is traveling to Sacramento, CA in early May for the NAD National Robotics Championship Competition. On March 26, the CAMS robotics team won the Champions Award at the regional competition held at Southern Adventist University to earn the privilege of this invitation.
“This was our very first year of competition, so it was quite an achievement and honor to win this award! I couldn’t be prouder of these kids. It’s great to see their hard work and dedication acknowledged in this way,” says Mr. Hilburn, CAMS Robotics teacher and team head coach.
This first year team experienced new discoveries throughout the year including learning to program the robot by using computer programming code, to work as an effective team, to make a professional brochure, and to research ideas for their required science and humanity project.
The competition has a diverse set of requirements. There are four categories that each team competes for placing. The CAMS team placed in each category:
1st place – Core Values category – Core values is the cornerstone of the national program. This category and philosophy focuses on students learning “that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals and that helping one another is teamwork,” from the FIRST Lego League website.
2nd place – Project and Presentation category – Each team must select a project to research and develop a solution to solve based on the theme set by the governing body of the competition. This year the theme is Animal Allies. The CAMS team researched Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) on the continent of Africa. They devised an innovative, simple, and affordable solution to control the elephants in a humane way to solve this serious problem. As African elephant range becomes more fragmented and as elephants get confined into smaller pockets of suitable habitat, humans and elephants are increasingly coming into contact and in conflict with each other. They will be presenting their idea to the zoologists at the Chattanooga Zoo next week.
2nd place – Tournament Points category – Robots are programmed by team members to autonomously complete tasks on a challenge board for which varying points are awarded based on degree of difficulty within a two and one half minute time period.
3rd Place – Robot Design category – This is the culmination of the design effectiveness and the application of what each robotics team works on together to feature at the competition.
“While we knew the students were progressing, we initially didn’t anticipate a regional victory in our first year of completion,” notes Mr. Hilburn. This unexpected surprise sent the team into a whirlwind. Many details had to fall into place to make the championship trip a reality – special travel approval from the school (typically all trips are approved at the beginning of each school year), arranging individual schedules and travel details and costs.
In the midst of working through the details, the team learned of a donor who desired to cover each team member’s travel expenses to the trip a possibility. “We have such a generosity around us,” says Mrs. Barbara Hunt, CAMS principal. “We are so blessed and grateful for this opportunity for our students. It’s clear the Lord has his hand in every step.”
Robotics team participation offers many benefits to the students and community. Students have the chance to learn and develop many new skills including engineering and design skills. They also develop leadership, business, public speaking, coaching, and communication skills. The CAMS Robotics team aims to provide these students the necessary skills to become the next leaders in our community and beyond- a potentially life-changing opportunity!
“It is so wonderful seeing the students so excited about Robotics. I am so proud of them and all the work the coaches and students have put in to the competition. To reach the level they have and participating in the National Competition is incredible. Our best wishes to them as they plan their trip to California,” says Mrs. Barbara Hunt.