By JAY WILSON
Last month we wrote about the success of several of the FIRST LEGO League teams which are comprised of students attending schools within the Patrick Henry Cluster boundaries. On March 27 and 28, our teams did very well in the FIRST Tech Challenge San Diego Qualifying Tournament.
The Dapper RoboNoodles (#18365) is a local community FIRST Tech Challenge team. They are rookies to FIRST Tech Challenge. However all but two of their teammates competed each year in FIRST Lego League starting as fourth graders at Dailard Elementary. They are now four eighth graders from Pershing Middle School: Kacie Hernandez, Sophie Miller, Brady Quinn, Saranzaya Rice-Connor, and three seventh graders from Lewis Middle School: Kelsey Gunter, Allyson Mangahis, and Ben Xavier.
The team designed dual linear actuators with a two-sided claw attached to move and lift rings as part of their goal. The claw opened and closed with a servo motor which also helped move other parts of the game field around. The claw was a custom made 3D printer piece by one of our teammates. A standout of their robot is the googly eye stickers. Not just for a fun aesthetic, but the stickers served a purpose so the driver could keep their “eyes” on the linear actuators to prevent overworking the gears. They competed in the FTC San Diego Qualifying tournament and their team was awarded Ptolemy League’s first place in robot design.
Another local community FIRST Tech Challenge team, The Wizalos (#14129), also competed in the 2021 “Ultimate Goal” remote event. Ninth graders Roan Carpenter, Matthew Merrow, and Alexios Savvides and 10th graders Aidan Conner, Isaac Miller, Jeremiah Short, and Jacob Showman all attend Patrick Henry High School. This is their third season together; they previously competed in the San Diego FTC “SKYSTONE” in 2020 and “Rover Ruckus” challenge in 2019.
The team designed and built a forklift and conveyor belt system that could lift 4-inch rings from the field and load them into a “cannon,” so they could shoot them at a goal 5 feet away. To make the conveyor belt, they sewed the seatbelt canvas (for stability) to rubber (for traction). The forklift had a four-in-one design that allowed it to push and carry other field elements, too. The team was awarded the Ptolemy League’s second-place Collins Aerospace Innovate award. They qualified to advance to the San Diego Regional Finals on April 25, 2021. The event will be remote, but you can see their robot competition videos on their YouTube channel. Search for “The Wizalos” by name! Videos from the March 6 scrimmage and the March 28 qualifier are already posted.
There are opportunities for students to join robot teams with FIRST team at any grade (K-12). More information is available at the FIRST national website: www.firstinspires.org.
— Jay Wilson writes on behalf of the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation.