Robotics champions

The six VEX IQ robotics teams in the district now are split with two in elementary and four in middle school with members including Brian Avila, Vinzavion King, and Ariyana Smith on Team Lightning Bolts; Michael Armour Jr., Patience Armour, Jameerah Clark, and Azariyah Keys on Team Orange Crushers; Quazerrick Anderson, Elijah Stanton, Kayl Johnson, and Jada Jones on Function of Construction; Harrison Bush, Jeremy Wade, and Arielle Ward on Robo-Nadoes; Eric Mondragon, Vincent King, Conner Jenkins, and Jaymarion Artley on Robo-Runners; and Eddie Emerson, Evan Emerson, and Chrostopher Nolen on Robo-Kings.

Lakeside School District brought home state championship titles earlier this month and are preparing for the Natural State Invitational in Russellville and for Worlds 2022.

The awards in the regular competition season qualified every Lakeside VEX IQ team for the Arkansas VEX IQ 2020-2021 state championship. The students competed in this tournament on April 6 in Hot Springs.

The Arkansas VEX IQ State Elementary Championship was made up of teams from Russellville, McGehee, Star City, Lake Village, and Little Rock. Orange Crushers are the Arkansas VEX IQ State Elementary Championship Excellence Award Recipients, Robot Skills Champions, and Teamwork Champions.

The Arkansas VEX IQ Middle School State Championship was made up of teams from Hot Springs, Crossett, Little Rock, Bentonville, Lake Village, North Little Rock, McGehee, and Bryant. The Robo-Kings are the Arkansas VEX IQ State Middle School Championship Excellence Award Recipients, second place in Robot Skills, and Teamwork Champions. The Robo-Nadoes also received Teamwork Champions. Function of Construction won the Design Award, and Robo-Runners are the second place Teamwork Champions.

The Orange Crushers, Function of Construction, Robo-Nadoes, Robo-Runners, and Robo-Kings will all represent Arkansas in VEX Worlds in May. Function of Construction and Robo-Nadoes double qualified for Worlds when both teams won the Encore video contest in early April. Teams will also play the Natural State Invitational in Russellville in June for an opportunity to qualify for Worlds 2022.

The six VEX IQ robotics teams in the district now are split with two in elementary and four in middle school.

Elementary team members are Brian Avila, Vinzavion King, and Ariyana Smith on Team Lightning Bolts and Michael Armour Jr., Patience Armour, Jameerah Clark, and Azariyah Keys on Team Orange Crushers.

Middle school members are Quazerrick Anderson, Elijah Stanton, Kayl Johnson, and Jada Jones on Function of Construction; Harrison Bush, Jeremy Wade, and Arielle Ward on Robo-Nadoes; Eric Mondragon, Vincent King, Conner Jenkins, and Jaymarion Artley on Robo-Runners; and Eddie Emerson, Evan Emerson, and Chrostopher Nolen on Robo-Kings.

The Lakeside VEX IQ elementary teams are coached by Arkadia Armour, and the Lakeside VEX IQ Middle School teams are coached by Jennifer Armstrong. The teams and coaches are assisted by Christina Davenport and Jim Bush.

These teams began practicing in September for this year’s VEX IQ robotics competition season. The season looked different due to COVID 19. There were far fewer competitions, no spectators, and many guidelines that had to be followed. 

The game for this year is Rise Above. The game is played on a 6-foot by 8-foot field where the teams complete challenges that involve stacking risers in scoring goals. The risers must be stacked in a color-coordinated order to maximize points. The robots must be built according to size regulations and must also be able to lift and stack at least three 8.7-inch risers. Scoring is achieved by completing color-coordinated stacks and rows.

In VEX IQ Robotics, the teams are responsible for designing, building, and coding their robots. The teams must keep an engineering notebook that details meetings, the design process, robot build instructions, modifications, practice notes, goals, and field notes. The engineering notebooks are submitted to judges at each competition. The judges then hold interviews with each team to explain and defend the quality of their notebooks. Each teams’ interview is used for the judged awards.

There are two scoring games in VEX IQ Robotics - robot skills and teamwork. 

In robot skills, teams perform individually. In the autonomous part of the competition, teams code their robots to complete stacks and rows without using driver controls. The teams are given one minute to score as many points as possible. 

For the driver portion of the skills competition, teams are given one minute to complete rows and stacks using remote controls that are operated by the students. Students have the opportunity to complete three autonomous drives and three regular drives at each competition. Final skills scores are tallied by adding the best autonomous drive and the best driver score to get one final skills total. 

The second part of scoring is teamwork. In teamwork, two teams strategize and work together to complete as many scorable stacks and rows as possible in one minute. Teams play 8 to 10 qualifying matches that are computer generated. This means that each alliance is new to the teams. After these are completed, teams are ranked and paired for finals matches. Each team plays one match. This match ranks the teams from first place to fifth place. These games result in two awards at competition - Robot Skills Champion and Teamwork Champions.

Other awards given at competitions are Excellence and Design. According to the VEX website, the Excellence Award is the highest award presented in a VEX Robotics competition. This award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality robotics program. This team is a strong contender in numerous award categories. Key criteria for this award is the engineering notebook, ranking for the design award, ranking for qualification matches, ranking for robot skills, quality of the team’s interview, high quality robotics program, and team conduct. The Design Award is awarded to the team with the most effective and efficient robot design process. This award also includes the quality of the team’s interview.

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