Robotics Teams Win Design, Amaze, and Research Awards

Posted on January 31st, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

by Donna Chaback

AC’s Gia helps direct the MAGMA team’s driver Amora in a Teamwork Challenge.

Allendale Columbia School teams brought home three awards at the VEX IQ Robotics Qualifier, and at least two teams, VEX Chargers and MAGMAS, will be going on to the State Championships.

The Qualifier was held Saturday, January 26th, at the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse. A total of 38 VEX IQ Robotics teams of students in Grades 4-8 participated. AC’s teams were all composed of 5th-graders. The State VEX IQ Championship will be held at the MOST on March 9th. AC has had teams go on to the World Championships in each of the last two years, with last year’s team winning one of the Sportsmanship awards.

Conley and Dante from AC’s Hubble Trouble team (in orange) are interviewed by the emcee at the VEX IQ regional qualifier.

This year’s VEX IQ Challenge game is called Next Level, played on a 4’x8′ rectangular field. The object of the game is to attain the highest score by stacking colored Hubs in Building Zones, removing Bonus Hubs from the Hanging Structure, and by Parking or Hanging on the Hanging Bar.

Two robots compete in the Teamwork Challenge as an alliance in 60-second teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points. Teams also compete in the Robot Skills Challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible. These matches consist of Driving Skills Matches which are entirely driver-controlled, and Programming Skills Matches which are autonomous with limited human interaction.

The awards the teams received, along with a description of each award, are listed below.

Design Award

The MAGMAS won the Design Award (left to right): Amora Thongjang, Morgan Wilson, Marc Voloshin, Sammy Davis, and Achanti Thongjang.

The MAGMAS (Morgan Wilson, Amora Thongjang, Achanti Thongjang, Marc Voloshin, and Sammy Davis) won the Design Award with great use of vertical gearing. The Design Award recipient demonstrates the ability to implement the most effective and efficient robot design process. Their Engineering Notebook and discussion with the Judges demonstrated the team’s ability to produce a quality robot with minimal adult assistance.

Key criteria:

  • Engineering Notebook is a clear, complete, and organized document of the robot design process.
  • Team demonstrates effective management of skills, time, and material resources.
  • Students understand and explain how they developed an effective game strategy and robot design.
  • Students demonstrate teamwork and effective communication skills.

Amaze Award

The Hubble Trouble team with their Amaze Award certificate (left to right): Ella Rogala, Conley Blankenship, and Dante Colaprete.

The Hubble Trouble team (Dante Colaprete, Conley Blankenship, and Ella Rogala) won the Amaze Award, presented to a team that has built an amazing, high-scoring robot that clearly demonstrates overall quality.

Key criteria:

  • Robot design is consistently high scoring.
  • Robot demonstrates a solid mechanical design and is robustly constructed to fulfill its designed task.
  • Robot programming is consistently effective and successful.
  • Students understand and explain how they worked together to develop their robot.

STEM Research Project Award

The VEX Chargers team won the STEM Research Project Award (left to right): Freddie Erdle, Olivia Fowler, Sebastian Costanzo, Juliette Methot, and Meredith Jones-Cole.

AC’s VEX Chargers, with Juliette Methot, Olivia Fowler, Meredith Jones-Cole, Freddie Erdle, and Sebastian Costanzo, won the STEM Research Award with their sundial project, for which they submitted this video:

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Research Project Award is presented to the team that shares the most effective STEM Research Project video submission. This video effectively demonstrates the students’ significant depth of understanding of their topic and research findings. The video will also highlight the students’ work in sharing what they learned in an effective format.

Key criteria:

  • Identifies a challenge topic of interest that relates to the STEM theme for the season.
  • Completes research and collects evidence using reliable sources.
  • Demonstrates a well-organized and documented process to study and explain the research findings.
  • Describes how the research findings were applied to develop and test the solution.
  • Shares the solution in an effective and creative presentation.
  • Students demonstrate an understanding of the entire research process.
  • Students demonstrate teamwork and effective communication skills.

Hubble Trouble and AC’s Rocketing Robots (Olivia Van Gemert, Chase Hegedorn-Thomann, Lily Schoepfel, Heidi Duran, and Adelyn “Addie” Rausch) will be taking another shot at States in an additional qualifier.

The Rocketing Robots (left to right): Chase Hegedorn-Thomann, Olivia Van Gemert, Lily Schoepfel, and Heidi Duran (Adelyn “Addie” Rausch was absent).



Donna Chaback

Donna Chaback

Donna received an Electrical Engineering degree and worked as an electrical engineer in the construction industry. Upon having children, Donna found a passion for teaching and received her Masters in the Science of Education. After working at a local public school for five years, she fell in love with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Donna taught STEM in various schools, then joined Allendale Columbia seven years ago. She is also a recipient of the Corporate K-12 Innovation Award from the International Association of STEM Leaders.
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