DAY 1: March 20, 2017
[ 8 am – 12 pm ]
We started off the first day of Camp Eureka with some Lego NXT! After a brief icebreaker and introductions, the students were split into groups of two or three, and each provided a “brain” for their robot. The coordinator for the camp, Silas, explained the submarine and shark-themed game to the campers, and the robot building began! The kids built some amazing robots, and quickly too! Almost everyone was finished with their robot before snack! Unfortunately, we were having difficulties with the brains, and thus will be switching to Vex IQ robots with this year’s Vex IQ game, Crossover, tomorrow. Regardless, we started off the day in an awesome fashion, and are looking forward to the rest of our fun-filled week with the campers!
[ 1 pm – 5 pm ]
Today, the campers were introduced to the 2015 -2016 Vex IQ challenge: Bankshot. After a brief explanation of the game, campers brainstormed possible robot designs, and the robot-building began! All the students were very involved with the game and made enormous progress for only the first day. Multiple teams already have a starting robot with a program, ready to drive. Tomorrow most teams plan to be drive and work out small kinks in their design in hopes to make it better and eventually discover the most optimal design for the bankshot game. Let the engineering process continue!
DAY 2: March 21, 2017
Today we successfully switched over from NXT to Vex IQ. Instead of the original NXT game we are using the official VEX Crossover game. We were able to watch the official video to help the kids learn the game, which helped them because they had a visual image as well as verbal descriptions. All in all, the transition of the morning camp from NXT to VEX IQ was smoother than expected, and well received.
Like the Morning Session, we showed a video of the VEX IQ game, Bankshot, to the kids. All the students have a better understanding of the game now. Some groups really went out of the box and started making incredible designs to accomplish this challenge! It’s awesome to see that many teams are aiming big and focusing on scoring the high goal for Bankshot. Despite encountering many problems, they’re tackling them – problem solving their way to a better robot.
DAY 3: March 22, 2017
As we continued to work on the Vex IQ competition Crossover, most campers were able to finish their designs. The students were ready and eager to test their robots, so we held mock matches to help the get robot driving experience. Everyone got a chance to take their bot out for a spin and get a feel for what a competition is like. Hopefully we were able to get all the nervous jitters out with these practice rounds! We were very proud of all campers who handled the switch between robot platforms calmly. They all have made more progress than we expected!
Work Continued on the robots, with all students focused on turning the beginnings of their robot into something even better. Today, many teams finished their kitbot or basic beginnings to their robot. But after some testing on the field, many have concluded that they need to go to even greater lengths in order to improve their abilities and consistency. Scoring into the high goal is one of the main focuses of the students- being able to score there is the key to winning the game!
DAY 4: March 23, 2017
We’re all focused on preparing for the competition on Friday. Almost all campers were done with their design, and moved on to working on driver control. We had a second round of practice matches so that everyone could get a chance to see what a real match is like before the real competition. There was a lot more cooperation today as teams discovered they could get a significantly higher score through good communication and coopertition! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and get a ton of good experience.
All the groups are giving it their all! Today a robot was able to score into the high goal consistently for the first time, which was quite an achievement. Many other teams were taking their first steps to score for the first time. We’re glad to see the students get motivated by the progress others are making. With only one day left of Camp, many groups have shifted it into high gear to catch up. From frantic building to programming, students worked till the end with plans in mind for tomorrow. We’re looking forward to what’s in store for Friday!
DAY 5: March 24, 2017
Today was the last day of Camp Eureka! It was an exciting time for both students and mentors. All the teams had 2 hours to prepare for competition and make any final adjustments to their robot. Most of the campers felt confident and spent this time practicing driving their robots. The 2 hours seemed to fly as parents began to arrive at 12. We gave a brief overview of the Camp and our club, explained the game rules, and finally began matches. We had 14 qualification matches where teams got to show off the skills acquired throughout the week. Congratulations to Team Decimators and Team Robo Jos, who won the competition with a final score of 52 points! Overall this was an amazing Camp and all the campers were awesome. This was, by far, my favorite camp.
As the final day of camp came to a close, teams practiced and made a few last minute edits to their robots. Many campers went creative with their robot designs, from a scissor lift designed to score into the high goal to a giant dump truck. Last minute touches were necessary on some robots while others spent their last several hours perfecting driver skill on the field. Soon enough, the competition began and the 11 teams each played four qualification matches. Finally, the two highest scoring teams, Question Mark and Galvatron chose their alliance partners for the finals. After a best out of three, Question Mark’s alliance won! Thus ended an incredible camp- particularly memorable for our mentors and hopefully for the campers as well. In this camp, we saw programming, use of Touch LEDs, new inventions, and use of intakes and scissor lifts unlike ever seen before in Camp Eurekas. We hope to see returning and new campers again in the future.