Iowa students challenge each other using robots - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Iowa students challenge each other using robots


It's a competition between robots. Robots built by high schoolers. These students represent the 24 teams that are competing to qualify for the First Tech Challenge Iowa Championship. Teams explain how the game works.

"On the match field, during our autonomous mode, we will be parking our robot on the ramp. Then during game play, we will be pushing blocks under into the scoring field area," said Kim Dornbier from The Block Heads team.

"Also it entails other parts of the competition, like turning a flag and raising it or also lifting your own robot," said Dane Mogensen from the team Marsupial Tech.

Players must also program their robot to automatically pick up blocks and drop them into a basket. The more blocks, the more points. However, for some winning isn't everything.

"I hope to get a ticket to state, but more importantly I hope to continue raising awareness of our robotics competitions," said Mindy Hartman from Metro Robotics.

"We want to win but at the same time, we just came to have fun," said Justice Leagues' Stephanie Diaz.

Before the match, teams are paired up to create alliances. So if something were to go wrong during a match, they can turn to another robot for help.

"There's a lot of strategy involved with the teams. Throughout the day, you'll see a lot of teams scouting, asking other teams, what are your strengths; what are your weaknesses; how can we partner together to achieve the maximum amount of point possible," said First Tech Challenge's Rebecca Whitaker.

Whitaker said it goes beyond the robots. Students are developing their presentation and communication skills while learning to work together as a team. A team member from the Justice League said being a part of a robotics team can be challenging, but it's their friendship that keeps them together.

"We learned how to be a team and not fight, and just be friends. Making new friends is what we're all about," said Stephanie Diaz from the Justice League.

"I love the fact that no matter what, we're a family," said Mindy Hartman from Metro Robotics.

The First Tech Challenge Iowa Championship will be held next month in Iowa City.

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