2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka!

Welcome to the 2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka Activities log. This page will be updated daily to show the various activities done by the students at Camp Eureka, as well as any related pictures. Click on any images to get to our flickr page for all the pictures taken during this Camp.


Vex IQ Day 5:

Today was the last day of our 2015 Summer Camp Eureka as well as our competition day! Teams had to hustle to get their robots as ready as possible for competition. at 2:30, all teams assembled at the Hilo High School patio ready to compete.

This Camp’s theme was space, and so we taught a variety of concepts necessary to know for space related mechanics. This Camp’s lessons include gear ratios used in favor of strength, demonstrated in Sumo bots as well as on lift mechanisms. They also learned the function of raised drive mechanisms to traverse rough terrain.

The Camp’s game was played on a standard 8’ x 4’ Vex IQ field. Dividing the field was a 2 inch high bump across the center. Along this bump were a number of hollow cubes. Robots scored points by pushing cubes to the other side of the field, or transporting the cubes all the way to the opposite end of the field for double the points. In order to accomplish this, many teams came up with lifting mechanisms to raise the cubes, as well as raised drive trains to traverse the bump.

The matches were very exciting for both the drivers and those who were watching. Many matches involved cubes being thrown back and forth across the bump. The winning team of the 2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka was Team Robot, lead by Rowan Chhay and Hendrix Merryman. Congratulation to the winning team, and thank you to all the students, parents, mentors, and other supporters who made this event possible!



Day 4:

Today teams took some time to Finish up the obstacle course challenge. Many teams had trouble with this challenge, as the standard drive train would get stuck on the lego field and 2 inch bump. However, there were some teams that were able to clear the challenge very quickly, much faster than our own mentor built demonstration robot.

Once all teams finished the obstacle course, we moved on to introduce our 2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka game, Stalemate.  This game involves tossing 2”x2”x2” hollow cubes from one side of the field to another, across a large trapezoidal bump. Extra points are given to teams who are able to transport cubes all the way to the opposite end.

In order to address the need to transport the cubes across the bump, many teams have added arms and other advanced mechanisms to manipulate the cubes. At the end of the day, there was a wide variety of different robots.



Day 3: Obstacle Course!

Today was the third day of Camp Eureka!

Today we started with a short activity, going around the room saying things we would like to get at a grocery store. The word the first person says must start with an A, while the next person must say a word that starts with a B, and so forth.

Next we introduced the obstacle course. This course involved a series of challenges; first the robot must navigate through a maze, next it must pass through a bumpy Lego field, cross over a seesaw ramp, and finally climb a 2 inch tall trapezoidal bump. This challenge is extremely difficult due to the need to build a robot that can fulfill all these requirements. Most teams experienced difficulties building a versatile drive base to climb the bump, while still maintaining the ability to turn smoothly.

Tomorrow we will hold a competition to see who can complete the obstacle course the fastest. We will then introduce the final game to be played on Friday.


Day 2: Sumo!!!

Today was the second day of Camp Eureka!

The kids started off with a game to spark creativity in the student’s minds. An abstract image was shown on the board, and the students were to interpret the image in their own way, with no correct or incorrect answer. Answers ranged from unicorns to airplanes. In this activity, we demonstrate that although the image is the same, the interpretation can vary from person to person, and that in order to produce the best solutions, we must consider all viewpoints.

Next we told the students a bit about Computer Aided Design, the software we used to design our own robots. Because the software was very hard to use, for today we had the kids design their robot using play doh.

After making a 3D model of their robot, the kids proceeded to finish building their sumo robots. The teams were each allowed up to 5 motors on their robot, allowing for a wide variety of complex designs.

Near the end of class, we held the sumobot competition, where the robots had to push another robot off of a sumo ring. The most successful robots demonstrated their knowledge by fully utilizing gear ratios to produce robots with the strongest pushing power. Many robots also had a small ramp to scoop opposing robots off of the ground, applying the simple machine of the wedge.


Day 1: Introduction to Vex IQ

Today was the first day of our 2015 summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka! Students from ages 8 – 14 came to our camp to learn about the Vex IQ building and programing platform, as well as engineering concepts and robotics applications in astronomy.

To start the week, we had the students participate in a blind maze activity. In this activity, students worked in pairs, one acting as the programmer and one as the robot. The robot participant is blindfolded, and must get through the maze only by commands from the programmer. But there is another twist; the programmer must only instruct the robot by saying colors, meaning that each group must assign a color to each type of movement command they need. This activity teaches the students how robots must receive very specific commands from the programmer, often in a unique programming language.

The students were then introduced to their first challenge, the Sumobot challenge, where each team must build a robot to push the other team off of the sumo ring. because the Vex IQ system supports many motors, each team was limited to four motors, to be used however they liked. This produced a number of unique designs.