Colyton’s robotics team, sponsored by Ashwoods, makes it to nationals

The team with their winning robot!

Ashwoods Electric Motors, have sponsored one of Colyton Grammar School’s VEX Robotics teams, to support STEM in schools and encourage the engineers of the future.

The team that Ashwoods are sponsoring has recently competed in the VEX Robotics Competition. This brings STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills to life by setting teams of students the task of designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. It aims to test students in STEM concepts and help students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership and communications. Tournaments are held year-round at regional, state, and national levels, and they culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship each April.

Colyton Grammar School has entered the VEX Robotics Competition for the third year running, now entering not just one team, but four. The teams competed in the regional qualifying event on Monday 29th of January, which was hosted at their school. This event held two places for the nationals and saw the boys compete against eleven other teams in order to secure themselves a place.

Thanks to the sponsorship by Ashwoods, the team could afford their kit and enter the competition, which required the team of six Year 11 students to build a robot capable of performing complex manoeuvres, such as picking up cones, in order to gain as many points as possible within the time limit.

The competition began with a series of qualifying rounds that saw the boys place first out of twelve. They were then required to form an alliance with another team, choosing another Colyton Grammar School team. During this stage, they went on to win all of their matches and became tournament champions, securing themselves a place in nationals.

Nationals are currently expected to take place on the 2nd of March in Telford. In preparation, both teams are refining their designs based on their previous mistakes and what they learnt from other contestants. They are also tweaking their coding for the autonomous section for best results.

Many students with an interest in STEM are using this competition as an opportunity to expand their knowledge in preparation for potential careers in STEM fields. As the number of students becoming involved in STEM subjects grows, it becomes increasingly important for schools to provide extracurricular activities to support applications to university, and allow students to apply their learnings to the real world. Colyton Grammar School does this in a variety of ways, such as this competition, in which students can get involved and develop their skills outside of the classroom.

Michael Cronk, Head of Computer Science at Colyton Grammar School, commented:

“The value of this competition is for the students to solve problems and learn new skills which they can then go on and apply in future education and jobs. It isn’t about me coaching a winning team, but about teamwork and communication, ensuring that our students are getting involved in something that is applicable to the real world”

A member of the VEX Robotics team discussed his plans for the future:

“I have always been interested in going into civil engineering and have had work experience in an engineering company. The job focused around design and taught me relevant skills which can be used in this competition and in employment further down the line”

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