ACPS students compete in robotics competition

Teams from across the Alachua County Public School (ACPS) District and beyond competed in the annual VEX Robotics Competition at Lincoln Middle School on Thursday.

Vehicles collect and launch balls from around the arena

From Absolute Hacks to Blood Moon, Corona Crushers and FR E SH A VOCA DO, more than 150 students and 44 teams battled for the win and a chance to represent the district in the state competitions with a chance to advance to internationals.

Kelley Kostamo, ACPS supervisor of volunteers and partners, said students work on the project throughout the year, some through technology classes and others through clubs.

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The point of the competition, she said, is to promote workplace skills. Hard skills, like building a remote control vehicle, are evident in the competition, but soft skills come into play as well.

In the team competition, groups from different schools partner to get a combined score. That means communicating with each other to find strengths and weaknesses. Teams must also pick a good time to switch drivers in the middle of the one minute rounds.

Teams had to navigate their vehicles through a number of tasks within competition arenas. Vehicles collected balls, corralled them into designated areas and even launched as many as possible into a box within a minute.

“It was awesome,” Kostamo said. “The kids had a great time. I think all the coaches were really proud of their kids and how well they did.”

Team from Fort White dissassembles a competition arena

At the start of the year, the district’s robotics program applied and received a $5,000 STEM grant from the Education Foundation of Alachua County. Kostamo said the grant allowed the program to meet the new competition standards with bigger fields of play.

The program also gets a boost from Gas South who has sponsored the competition for seven years.

Middle School Award Winners

Westwood Middle School swept the field for the following awards which advance to the region championships.

Excellence Award—FR E SH A VOCA DO from Westwood

Teamwork Champion Award—power rangers from Westwood

Teamwork Champion Award—on FIRE!! from Westwood

Design Award—Update your firmware from Westwood

The following teams won awards but do not advance to regionals:

Robot Skills Champion—FR E SH A VOCA DO

Think Award—Jacket Legs United from Bishop Middle School

Amaze Award—Kanapaha 3 from Kanapaha Middle School

Build Award—Delta Squad from Oak View Middle School

Energy Award—VEX Terriers from Lincoln Middle School

Students and spectators came from across Alachua County to compete and watch

Elementary Schools

Advancing to regionals:

Excellence Award―Era from Wiles Elementary School

Teamwork Champion Award―Era from Wiles Elementary School

Teamwork Champion Award―The Champs from Foster Elementary School

Design Award―GALE from Wiles Elementary School

The following teams won awards but do not advance to regionals:

Robot Skills Champion―Era from Wiles Elementary School

Amaze Award―Chiles A from Chiles Elementary School

Build Award―Young Scientists from Glen Springs Elementary School

Energy Award―Corona Crushers from Chiles Elementary School

Create Award―25786A from Parker Elementary School

Inspire Award―Twister A from Terwilliger Elementary School

Team from Fort White competes in the team challenge

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