Robotics With the Roverines

Robotics+With+the+Roverines

Ollie Pearson, Dedicated Writer

This year in the Westlake Robotics Club, there are 21 members split up into two teams.  The Robotics club team name is The Westlake Roverines and the club is run by Mr. Laird and Mr. Fitzgerald, 8th grade Science teachers.

The club was started two years ago – pre-pandemic – and five members from that first team are still a part of the team again this year.  This includes Kailyn Cooper, Calvin Florence, Evelyn Jacobs, Matthew Oakes, and Callan Sisneros, who are all eighth graders.

The Roverines won the district championship two years ago but ended up losing when it came to the state championship. Soon after the competition, they put The Roverines on hold because of the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020. However, this year, they have finally restarted the club.  Unfortunately, there is no room for new members this year because it is hard to get new members up to speed while working on the presentations and robots for the competition.

The Robotics lub is about making robots to do certain things and also to design two, one to solve a real problem and the other to compete in a competition with other robots on who can do the most tasks in the allotted time. All robots built are made out of Legos with parts like the pieces of a Lego EV3 or the Robot Inventor. 

The goal of competitions is to build a robot from Legos to do the most tasks in the 2 minutes and 30 seconds given to compete, also each team gets 3 tries to complete the tasks. Tasks can include anything from pushing something like a button to moving objects from one place to another and all of these give points.

However, the demonstration only results in 25% of your score, the other 75% comes from presenting the three presentations required: the first one is on a real-life problem robots could solve, the second one is about the attributes of a good team, and the third one is about how you built your robot. 

Now for an interview with Mr. Laird, one of the two Robotics club sponsors.

Q: Why did you and Mr. Fitz start Robotics club two years ago?

A: We had a couple of former students who were on the Robotics team at Legacy who asked Mr. Fitz and myself if we’d like to begin a Robotics club through Lego.  So we did this so that kids get experience here at WL they can use if they join the team at Legacy. 

Q: What do you like best about Robotics club?

A: The kids. Their passion is infectious.  Whether they are coders, engineers, group leaders, presenters, watching everyone’s strengths come together as one for the same goal is rewarding. The competition is a lot of fun, too! 

Q: How did last time’s team come up with the name “Roverines”?

A:  A couple of years ago the kids were brainstorming a name when they took the words ‘rover’ and ‘wolverines’ and combined them.  It’s a great name. 

Q: When and where is the next robotics club competition?

A:  The regional competition is November 6th, 2021 at a middle school in Arvada. If our teams do well, we may be invited to the state competition in December which has been held at CU Denver on the Auraria campus in the past.

Q: How did you find out about these competitions to start the club?

A: This club is organized through the Lego Corporation and runs all over the country from elementary through high school.  There is more information at www.firstlegoleague.org.