Winter 2017 Camp Eureka Registration is Open!

This upcoming winter break Camp Eureka will be held from December 26th to 29th!

  • The morning session will be from 8 am to 12 pm and feature a Vex IQ game involving cube stacking.
  • In the afternoon, from 1 pm to 5 pm, there will be another VEX IQ session with a soccer-based game.

The age range for both sessions is 7-12, with exceptions on a case to case basis. Sessions will be held at C205 on the Hilo High School campus. Tuition is $175 per student for each session. Scholarships are available for those in need.

Physical registration forms are available here and online Google Forms registration is available here.

Please mail physical forms and payment to the club.

Address:

Hilo Viking Robotics
Hilo High School
556 Waianuenue Ave.
Hilo, HI 96720

If you are unable to mail the form and payment, you can drop it off (in an envelope) at Hilo High School’s front office and direct it to Robotics. If you registered electronically, walking your payment in on the first day of camp will also be accepted. However, it is preferred to be either mailed to or dropped off at Hilo High School.

Visit our General Camp Eureka Information Page for more information!

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Email: hilovikingrobotics@gmail.com
Ryan Nakasato, Club Advisor: (808) 313-5547
Corbin Warmbier, Winter Camp Coordinator: (808) 494-4767

2017 July Camp Eureka Blog

This is a week long blog to document our 2017 July Camp! We have daily summaries, as well as pictures that we took throughout the week. This July Camp had a morning session from 8am-12pm, as well as an afternoon session from 1-5 pm. See below for more details!

Day 1 (July 10, 2017)

MORNING GENERAL SESSION

This morning we welcomed everyone to Camp and started the day off with a quick icebreaker called Shoe Talk and the exchange of buttons. Each student and mentor wears a button throughout camp that they bring home with them at the end of the week. We began by introducing the game. Similar to last year’s Vex IQ game, Crossover, Jack Attack uses the same jack-like game pieces.  Robots must stack the game elements into goals of various heights. The taller they stack, the more points they achieve.  There are both autonomous and tele-operated portions to this game, encouraging not only a knowledge of driver skill, but also of programming.  Students began work on their robots!

AFTERNOON ADVANCED SESSION

The first day of camp’s afternoon session began with an ice breaker and quick introductions, and the week’s game, Robot to the Rescue, was introduced.  Unlike the majority of Camp Eureka games, Robot to the Rescue, requires each robot to collect their supplies, save survivors, and dispose of toxic wastes, completing each obstacle without using a controller.  This requires team to not only build a robot that can hold supplies, survivors, and pick up toxic waste, but also create completely autonomous programs for it.  Students are allowed to change the placement of their robot while it is in the safe zone, and extra points are given to robots that can complete the course in just one program.  This session allowed more experienced robot builders and programmers to put their abilities to the test and challenge themselves.  Today, the students began the first segment of their endeavor to create a successful robot, building it.  We look forward to the rest of the week!

Day 2 (July 11, 2017)

MORNING GENERAL SESSION

Camp continues, with students continuing work on their robots. By snack time, nearly every group had finished building their robot and many were beginning to program it.  Typically, campers build tank drives, as instructed in the robot build manual.  However, two groups with more experienced campers decided to try something different for this game, building X-drives.  With this, they can greatly increase their speed, but programming it is significantly more difficult.  By the end of the day, several groups were testing out their robots on the field, determining changes they might need to make.  The engineering process continues!

AFTERNOON ADVANCED SESSION

Students continued work on their robots this afternoon and many began work on their programs.  Different groups are taking a variety of approaches on programming.  Most groups are focused on getting from Start to Safe Zone 1 by making the robot go forward a certain distance, turning, etc… until they reach the safe zone.  Others are taking different approaches, using gyroscopes or making their way around the obstacle using the bumper switch.  Even other groups are taking an entirely different approach, programming getting from Safe Zone 4 to the end via line tracking.  This is the hardest programming challenge of the game.  In this game, building a robot is just the beginning.  The real challenge is programming.

Day 3 (July 12, 2017)

MORNING GENERAL SESSION

We are now halfway through camp!  At this point, the final groups have finished building their robots and all the students are testing their robots’ abilities on the field. Driver skill is vital to winning this game, since scoring hex-balls on the highest level is nearly impossible without extensive practice.  However, other groups have concluded that major changes need to be made to their design and are now changing their lift mechanisms, claws, and drivetrains. By the end of the day, everyone is at a different stage in their robot building- from editing their tele-op program to making an autonomous.  We look forward to another exciting day of robots tomorrow!

AFTERNOON ADVANCED SESSION

This afternoon, the challenging programming continued.  Much of the programming challenges in this game require giving the robots a lot of similar and repetitive instructions.  However, the programming can get frustrating, since building the program entails a lot of trial and error.  The students were amazing, persevering no matter what obstacles they encountered. Since many groups hadn’t built the lift and claw mechanism for handling the toxic waste, several groups started construction on that as they moved from safe zone to safe zone.

Day 4 (July 13, 2017)

MORNING GENERAL SESSION

The final full day of working began.  Today, creating an autonomous is the main focus for most groups.  Although autonomous is only a small portion of the game, robots can earn points by winning it, moving, and major points by scoring.  Just one hex-ball scored in the top goal can earn an alliance 60 points- twice as much as during the tele-operated period.  Teams made their program, lined up their robots, and tested their autonomous, making minor changes and returning several times.  By snack time, some robots had their autonomous set, and practice matches began.  Practice matches are an excellent way for students to observe how their robot will actually perform during a game, gives them practice on driver skill and reminds them of the rules. After several practice matches, students returned their robots back to the table, prepared to make some changes.

AFTERNOON ADVANCED SESSION

Students are focusing now more than ever before, as time is beginning to run low.  By now, several robots are able to complete the course in full, from start to end. However, they still face more challenges. The champion of Robot to the Rescue has to not only complete the course, but do so as fast as possible.  But students must choose whether they want to focus on making their robot faster, picking up more toxic waste, or complete the course in a single program.  A slower robot that picks up additional toxic waste and uses just one program could beat a faster robot, depending on the time difference.

Day 5 (July 14, 2017)

MORNING GENERAL SESSION

Today is the last day of Camp Eureka! After two short hours of fixing and practicing, the competition began.  The ten teams played through the qualification matches, and as the games passed, the highest score kept increasing!  Overall, the highest score was 175, made by the alliance of Police Bot and E.J.R., two of the four teams that progressed to the finals. After a short lunch break, the finals began, and the alliance of E.J.R. and Tiny Titans claimed their victory! Finally, we held an awards ceremony and took pictures with robots. This was an awesome camp; we hope to see the students return for fall camp!

AFTERNOON ADVANCED SESSION

With just a few hours of building and programming time left, students finished the final portions of their programming, and the official runs of the course began.  It was fascinating to see the differences between each students’ program, the techniques they used to complete the course and the directions they took to get from one safe zone to the next.  Advanced programming can be very challenging, but it is highly rewarding once you see how the robot performs, and enjoyable as long as you’re patient!

2017 June Camp Eureka Blog!

This is a daily blog of our week long June Camp. The posts will be updated as the week continues. This blog serves as documentation for parents and supporters to enjoy, with brief summaries of each Camp day, and pictures of the students at work!

DAY 1 : June 5th

Morning Session

Today the students were introduced to each other and formed the groups they will be in for the rest of the week. They were taught the game that they will be playing and started construction of their robots. For the morning session the game is a twist on the classic game, Capture the Flag. This VEX IQ version will feature a 45 second period in the beginning to build fortifications with their robots to deter the enemy alliance from taking their flag, and a 1:15 minute time period to capture the opponent’s flag!. The kids quickly understood the game and enthusiastically began construction of their unique robots.

Afternoon Session

To start off our afternoon session, we introduced ourselves and the kids got into groups of two to three, which they will be in for the remainder of the week. We also introduced the game that they will be competing in at the end of the week — Hotshot. Hotshot is a modified game of basketball in which two teams work together to score the most amount of points they can in 1:30 minutes by shooting light weight golf balls into a net from various distances — getting more points the farther away from the hoop they are. Towards the end of the match they can gain additional points by latching onto a platform and raising themselves (a “slam dunk”!). Kids began their first day brainstorming ideas and eagerly beginning construction of their robots to best compete in the game.

DAY 2 : June 6th

Morning Session

Today the campers continued work on their robots for capture the flag. Many groups got to a point where their robots were complete enough to be tested, so we did rough practice matches. In these matches kids realized further improvements that could be made to their robots and began implementing them.

Afternoon Session

Today the kids regrouped and continued to work on their robots. They started making a lot of progress and many students were able to get their robots driving! Teams were able to get their scoring mechanism working and began to test it. Through the engineering process, kids tested and continued to improve their robots. Towards the end of the session, we held some practice matches where they worked towards fine tuning their robots.

DAY 3 : June 7th

Morning Session

Today we clarified the game rules for capture the flag, specifically scoring, and continued working on our robots. Other teams continued doing practice matches to further enhance their driving skills. Through practice and further clarification of rules some teams realized that the fortification period has lots of potential for getting a lot of points, so teams began to make changes to their design to adjust to that.

Afternoon Session

For this session, the students continued to build their robots, continuously testing and making improvements. A lot of students have started making the transition into the programming and improving phase. Students have been testing their robots and learning what they should add/improve to make their robot the best it can. Some groups have been realizing that their robot is front heavy and they work on making it so they can score from a far distance while being balanced. Organized practice matches are scheduled for tomorrow once the few remaining groups get their robot built and programmed. These matches will be a very good indicator for all the teams on how they compare to the rest of the competition for the main competition on Friday.

DAY 4 : June 8th

Morning Session

Today teams made final edits to their robots before the competition tomorrow. Teams refined and fine tuned already made flag scoring/fortification building systems or continued to improve their driving skills in practice matches. Many teams are ready for tomorrow’s competition and seemed nervous and excited to see who will win.

Afternoon Session

Today was the last full day of building before the competition. Some students are fine tuning their robots, however, most students are still working on getting their robot to work. Very few teams were ready for practice matches, so practice matches were cancelled. Most students had to re-evaluate their designs as they realized something wasn’t working or something had to be improved. They continued to work hard to make sure that they were prepared for the competition tomorrow.

DAY 5 : June 9th

Morning Session

On the final morning of camp, students were making the last finishing touches to their robots, some mainly practicing driver skill on the practice field, while others supported weaker parts of their robot.  Still yet, others made dramatic changes to their robot design in order to ensure success during the competition. As practice sessions continued, the teams couldn’t wait to start the actual matches. There were nine competing teams, named; Box Bot, Flash, Seizure Scorpion, Empire Camy, Emily, The Destroyer, Tanky, Charmander, and Bento Box III.  Tanky and Flash, the two top scoring teams picked their alliance partners for the three final rounds, and Tanky and The Destroyer’s alliance claimed victory!  This camp featured a more unusual game for Camp Eureka, combining scoring skills with defense and strategy.  We had an amazing time this past week!

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session was filled with the ever-careful driving practice of lining up for the hang in the game, with several teams just finishing up their robot.  The qualification matches went by rapidly, and after a lunch break, the championship matches began.  Unstoppable and E.T., the top scoring teams determined their alliance partners and the championships began. Naxamite and E.T. won the championships, making the first ever case of students in both sessions winning both morning and afternoon championships! Congratulations to the winning teams and we look forward to another fun-filled week of robots next month!

2017 Spring Camp Eureka Blog

DAY 1: March 20, 2017

Morning Session

[ 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!

Afternoon Session

[ 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

Morning Session

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.

Afternoon Session

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

Morning Session

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!

Afternoon Session

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

Morning Session

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.

Afternoon Session

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

Morning Session

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.

Afternoon Session

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.

Summer July 2017 Camp Eureka Registration is Open!

This exciting second summer 2017 Camp Eureka will be held during the week of July 10-14th!

The morning session will be from 8 am to 12 pm and will feature a VEX IQ game that is for both beginners and experienced students alike. Age limit is 7 – 12.

In the afternoon, from 1 pm to 5 pm, we will be having an advanced VEX IQ session (ages 8 -13). This session will focusing on going beyond the beginner skills. We will be putting emphasis on programming with sensors by exploring challenges like autonomous color block sorting and creating a “pipeline explorer”! Because of the increased difficulty of this session, we highly recommend this to only those who have had previous experience with both VEX IQ building and programming, and desire to learn about the next level of robotics!

Our required** pre-requisites for the Afternoon session include: (**we may offer exceptions on a case to case basis)

  • Previous experience with VEX IQ modkit
  • Previous experience with VEX IQ (e.g. attended a previous Camp, experience in school program or at home, etc.)
  • At least 8 years old

Sessions will be held at C205 on the Hilo High School campus. Tuition is $175 per student for each session. (There are scholarships available for those in need)

The registration is available here.

The online Google Forms registration is available here.

Please mail the form and payment to the club.

Address:

Hilo Viking Robotics

Hilo High School

556 Waianuenue Ave.

Hilo, HI 96720

If you are unable to mail the form and payment, you can drop it off (in an envelope) at Hilo High School’s front office and direct it to Robotics. If you registered electronically, walking your payment in on the first day of camp will also be accepted. However, it is preferred to be either mailed to or dropped off at Hilo High School.

Our General Camp Information Page has more information.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Email: hilovikingrobotics@gmail.com

Ryan Nakasato, Club Advisor: (808) 313-5547

Ara Uhr, July Camp Coordinator: (808) 936-0190

June and July 2017 Camp Eureka Registration is OPEN!

Registration for our June 2017 Camp Eureka is OPEN!

This summer, Hilo Viking Robotics will be holding two Camp Eurekas, with an early summer camp June 5th-9th and a late summer camp July 10th-14th

JUNE CAMP

There will be two sessions with Vex IQ, both of which are open all kids ages 7-12.  Although the games will be different in each session, both will focus on the how to build and program a robot with Vex IQ, experimenting with different lifts, drive trains, and gear ratios:

  • In the morning, from 8am-12pm, there will be a game similar to Capture the Flag!  Robots will be tasked to build fortification walls to protect their ‘flag’ and work in robot teams to continue protecting their ‘flag’ whilst trying to get the opposing team’s ‘flag.’  Students will be working on this game throughout the week, improving their robots through the engineering process!
  • In the afternoon, from 1 pm-5pm, the game will be a modified version of the 2016 Vex IQ game, Bankshot, similar to basketball!  Students will need to build robots that can score balls in a goal, gaining more points the further away from the goal they score.

JULY CAMP

Like the June Camp, this Camp will have two VEX IQ sessions. The morning session is open to both beginners and advanced students, ages 7-12. In the afternoon there will be an advanced VEX IQ programming camp which is open to students ages 8-13.

Morning (8 to 12 pm):

Students will work to complete various challenges throughout the week, culminating in a final game! They will learn about basic robotics parts, structure, and programming VEX IQ.

Afternoon (1 to 5 pm):

The advanced VEX IQ Camp is the next step in a student’s robotics education. In this session we will be integrating sensors in our robots to complete challenges like autonomous color block sorting and creating pipeline explorers! Because of the increased difficulty of the programming aspect of this camp, we have a few requirements** for registrants:

1. Previous experience with VEX IQ modkit

2. At least 8 years of age

3. Previous experience with VEX IQ (e.g. attended a previous VEX IQ Camp, participated in a VEX IQ school program, experience with VEX IQ at home, etc.)

**Please note that we may accept exceptions on a case to case basis.

TIME and COST:

During both Camps, sessions will be held at a classroom on Hilo High School campus. Tuition is $175 per student for each session.

To register, please either:

Print and fill out the June registration form available here, or the July registration available here. Mail, scan, drop off at the Hilo High School office, or come to camp with the form and tuition enclosed in an envelope.
or
Fill out the form online on Google Forms, available here for June, and here for July!  Mail, drop off, or come to camp with tuition enclosed in an envelope.

Thank you for reading! To keep updated and for more information about Camp Eureka, check our website!

2017 Spring Camp Eureka is OPEN!

Registration for our 2017 Spring Camp Eureka is open!

This fall, Camp Eureka will be held March 20th-24th.  There will be two sessions:

  • In the morning, from 8am-12pm, there will be a programming-based Lego NXT session.  Students will program their robot to successfully navigate through a maze, use touch and distance sensors to traverse through a continuously changing maze, and picking up balls at rapid speed.
  • In the afternoon, from 1 pm-5pm, there will be a Vex IQ session.  Throughout the week, students will be building robots for this year’s Vex IQ game, Crossover.  In this game, robots need to score “hexballs” into low and elevated goals.

This camp, both sessions will be held at the Hilo High School Cafeteria. Tuition is $175 per student for each session.

To register, please either:

Print and fill out the registration form available here.  Mail, scan, drop off at the Hilo High School office, or come to camp with the form and tuition enclosed in an envelope.
or
Fill out the form online on Google Forms, available here!  Mail, drop off, or come to camp with tuition enclosed in an envelope.

Thank you for reading! To keep updated and for more information about Camp Eureka, check our website!

Winter 2016 Camp Eureka Blog

Day 1 (12/27/2016)

VEX IQ Robotics Session

Today the students were  introduced to Kukini! Kukini means foot races and in ancient Hawaii the top runners competed and were later recruited by chiefs to be messengers or spies. Similar to drag races, robots drive to specific mark (12ft) in the shortest amount of time. By working on these robots students learned simple drive trains, drag and gear ratios!

Engineering Session

To start off the engineering fun, students worked on mini Hawaiian wa’a (canoe) designs! This little activity helped teach students how concepts like buoyancy and water displacement need to be considered to design a watercraft that will support “x” of weight! Infact, the students competed to win the “Strongest Wa’a” Award, which was awarded to the wa’a that could hold the most weight.

 

Day 2 (12/28/2016)

VEX IQ Robotics Session

Ulu maika (Hawaiian bowling) is similar to American bowling, except it uses two stakes and a disc shaped stone. The object of the game is to roll the stone between the stakes from a certain distance away. We put a twist on this fun activity by creating a course of “stakes” and exchanging the disc shaped stone for a VEX IQ robot carrying a VEX IQ tire! We encouraged students to build a robot with a simple lift that could pick up an object (tire), carry it through a series of stakes created with vex IQ parts. The area between the stakes progressively got smaller as the students went through the course, requiring the students to limit the size of their robot (only using resources needed) and learn precise driving skills! We were pleased to see everyone working hard on their robot, incorporating gear ratios, lifts, and simple programming in their new robots!

Engineering Session

Inspired by ohia trees, we focused on how to support a weight in the air! Students learned the basics of building a miniature “tree” (tower) that can hold weights on its uppermost “branches”. Here, they had to use strong shapes to support the tree and it’s weight with out it toppling over or breaking.

 

Day 3 (12/29/2016)

VEX IQ Robotics Session

This morning we finished up on Ulu Maika, and started on the final game, the Animal Reservation! This game combined all the skills the kids learned throughout the week as the teams rushed through the 3 minute matches to collect endangered animal (Hawaiian Monk Seal and Green Sea Turtle) cubes and bring them to their “reservations” according to animal. It was great to see students using speed gear ratios, incorporating simple and complex cube capture designs  in their robots and practicing the driving skills that they learned in Ulu Maika!

Engineering Session

To start the session off, we finished the Strongest Ohia Trees and tested how much weight each tree could hold. Once we finished that activity, we moved on to the Hawaiian Structure Building! With that theme in mind, students were taught about how to use different engineering principles to create a small building model that could withstand the stimulated natural elements – high wind, earthquakes, and heavy rain.

 

Day 4 (12/30/2016)

VEX IQ Robotics Session

The first half of the session today was dedicated to finishing the Animal Reservation robots so that the kids could have a robotics competition when the parents came! We noticed that many students had gone through several designs throughout the week, and especially during the short build period for the Animal Reservation game. Each time they re-evaluated their designs – adding this, taking away that – they grew more attached and excited about their robots! The final competition was truly exciting, with more than a few close matches, especially in the finals. We hope that the students and their parents enjoyed their VEX IQ robot experience!

Engineering Session

Today we had a day full of exciting activities, starting with a water balloon drop! Students were challenged to protect a water balloon from a 3 story high drop. Plus, they had two sub-challenges with in the main one – with a parachute and without! Now students had to think about the mechanical and physical properties of the different materials available while building the “capsule” for the water balloon. In addition, the students took a walk around campus to go on a Structural Principles Scavenger Hunt! They looked at different aspects of the Hilo High Buildings and pointed out specific examples of structural principles, like structural members and materials with certain mechanical properties. To finish the day off, we dove into Water Balloon Catapults! Each group worked on creating a catapult that could successfully launch small water balloons. By the end we were all tired by the full but fun day!

Fall 2016 Camp Eureka Blog

Day 1 [10/10/16]

Engineering Session

Today was the first day of camp!  This camp is in fact the largest one in the history of Camp Eureka; we were ecstatic to see so many people interested in our engineering and robotics camp!  For the morning engineering session, we started off with some brief introductions and played a short icebreaker.  From there, we went ahead with explaining the engineering process in a presentation.  The engineering process is a key element to this camp, as students will be following the process throughout the week.  With the engineering process fresh on everyone’s minds, we moved on to some activities!

Each activity presented a challenge that taught the students principles of structure and made them think about weight distribution, the importance of triangles, differences between materials, and everything necessary to think about to make a structurally sound construction.   Following the presentation, the students built a cubes and triangular pyramids out of toothpicks and marshmallows.  With this activity, they investigated the sturdiness of pyramids, instability of cubes, and how to brace cubes in order to understand the importance of triangles in structures.  Then, we moved on to making retaining walls out of popsicle sticks and PlayDoh.  The students were instructed to make a structure that would prevent sand from one side of the wall pushing down the wall.  Multiple groups were able to accomplish this, and their walls remained standing even after a simulated earthquake!  After successfully making retaining walls, the students began using their knowledge of triangles and weight distribution even more to create popsicle stick tables!  The students were given a limited number of popsicle sticks and several size restrictions, but weren’t able to finish them before the end of the day- the project will continue tomorrow! 

Given that this was our largest Camp Eureka ever, we discovered that we needed several more mentors than what were present today.  A few had the day off after spending the entire weekend on Oahu for a VEX robotics tournament, Pan Pacific, but hopefully their presence tomorrow will ensure that there are enough mentors for all of the students.  We look forward to another day of engineering tomorrow!

 

Vex IQ Building & Programming Session

The robotics session this fall features a twist to our standard Vex IQ session: games never seen at our camps before!  There will be two primary games that the students will work on this week, and we started with the first one, Guardian Showdown.  This game emphasized both the importance of being able to score balls and being able to create a robot that can ‘battle’ other robots.  Bots clashed similar to a sumo tournament, but the element of guarding and scoring ball a ball was added.

We began with introducing the game, rules, and restrictions to the students, and the building began!  We saw quite a number of creative and intriguing robot designs, and are looking forward to the tournament tomorrow!  Although teams were not able to finish their robots by the end of the day, they will have more time to finish building and/or programming tomorrow.

Since this session has students with various different levels of experience with Vex IQ, this twist on a normal Vex IQ session seems to be successful!  For students that are building a robot for their very first time, they could following the manual for the standard robot and edit the design as they saw fit.  On the other hand, students that are experienced in Vex IQ robotics could play with the design of their robot significantly more.  Unfortunately, similar to the engineering session, there was a shortage of mentors in this session.  We definitely plan to improve our measures to ensure that this does not happen at a future camp.

 

 

Day 2 [10/11/16]

Engineering Session

For the second day, we continued working on tables and then proceeded to make towers.  Once students finished their popsicle stick tables, we stacked weights on top to see how many pounds the table could hold.  The strongest table, made by Liam, Chandler, and Nathan, successfully held 105 pounds!  Eli and Rowan unfortunately finished their table after the weighing deadline, but were able to hold an astounding 110 pounds!  This activity emphasized the importance of triangles and weight distribution in your design, as the strongest structures best included these two aspects.

Afterwards, the students learned more about structure and the properties of materials.  This included different loads and forces, as well as the definition of strength, toughness, ductility, malleability, and more!  Then, they made towers out of construction paper and tape that had to remain standing, even if a fan was blowing against it.  The day concluded with several groups starting another tower, this time out of straw and pipe cleaners.

Vex IQ Building & Programming Session

After a brief review of the game, Guardian Showdown, students regrouped and continued working on their robots.  Soon enough, robots were ready for competition, and we began scrimmages.  Scrimmages are especially helpful for students because they allow them to practice driving and use strategy in a setting virtually the same as the actual competition.  By participating, many students could see flaws in their design or aspects where they did not follow the regulations of the game, resulting in them making modifications.  In addition, we could see aspects of the game’s design that needed to be clarified before the official competition began.  Overall, scrimmages were beneficial for both students and mentors!  

After a break for snack time, the tournament bracket was made and the competition began!  All told, there were 13 participating teams, but not all were ready in time to participate in competition today.  However, we were able to identify the two finalist teams that would go on to the final round tomorrow: Team Robot and Team Disco Bot!  The competition was intense, and it’s not over yet!  We look forward to the rest of the matches tomorrow.

 

 

Day 3 [10/12/16]

Engineering Session

We began the third day of camp with a continuation of yesterday’s straw and pipe cleaner activity.  With only 15 pipe cleaners and 20 straws, teams had to create the tallest tower they could that would successfully hold a small, tennis-ball-sized foam ball on top.  Some students were able to make their tower 16 or even 17 inches tall!  

Once we completed this tower activity, the students regrouped to a classroom-format and we discussed bridges. The first bridge kids made was a truss bridge, which is a type of bridge that has a structure of connected elements that form triangular units.  By the end of the day, several groups finished their bridge.  We’ll be testing the strength of each bridge tomorrow!

Vex IQ Building & Programming Session

Today we continued the tournament and then introduced a new game to the students.  By this point, all teams had finished their robots, and we continued elimination matches, leading to the identification of our two other finalists.  The final round was very intense, but Team Not You of Connor and Cody won by a slim margin.  All other teams participated in a short transitioning game that introduced them to the second main game of camp: Steady Stacking.

Afterwards, we introduced the students to the next game, where robot teams formed alliances that competed to who could stack the most, tallest cube towers.  From there, the teams began taking apart their robots and reconstructing them to better fit this new game.  Tomorrow will be another day of building and scrimmages!

 

 

Day 4 [10/13/16]

Engineering Session

Camp is already almost over- where has the time gone!  We began the fourth day of camp by weighing bridges. They were only given 60 popsicle sticks, but the bridges were able to hold up to 86 pounds!  One of our mentors was able to put a loading block on each of the bridges, then add weight to the bridge with sand (via the loading block).

Once the students finished building their truss, some went on to build a suspension bridge (similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco) or began building a house of their own design.  They were given 80 popsicle sticks for their house and a variety of other materials (e.g. aluminum foil, transparent plastic wrap, foam, construction paper, toothpicks, and Playdoh).  Each student had their own take on this activity, there were kitchens, sheds, apocalyptic mansions, restaurants, and much more.  This allowed the kids to use a lot of their imagination, but they also had to ensure that their house was structurally stable, the materials were all intact, and that the house was waterproof.  Furthermore, their houses had to include several structural elements (e.g. at least one interior wall, beams, columns, roof trusses, and doors).  We’ll be continuing and then testing this activity tomorrow.

Vex IQ Building & Programming Session

Robot teams were hard at work on their bots the entire day.  Everyone was at a different stage, so we had some teams still in the building process, while others were programming, participating in scrimmages, or making minor modifications to their design.  Unfortunately, we were having motor connectivity issues the entire day, so our mentors tried to update any outdated motors as fast as possible.  We recently bought new Vex IQ parts, but unfortunately the new parts do not work well with older Vex IQ parts unless all older parts go through an updating process.

Nevertheless, the building process continued, and the students prepared themselves for competition tomorrow!

 

 

Day 5 [10/14/16]

Engineering Session

Today was the very last day of camp!  Students rushed to complete their houses, ensuring that they met the criteria before testing.  After parents of students arrived, we began testing the houses for their susceptibility to water damage, wind damage, and seismic damage.   This was simulated by pouring water on top of the house, blowing a fan directly next to each house, and vigorously shaking the table underneath each house.

Following the testing of the houses, we held an awards ceremony and potluck. We hope that the students enjoyed this learning experience and that they will retain and utilize the knowledge gained from this camp.

Vex IQ Building & Programming Session

For the first two hours of camp, we mostly held scrimmages and allowed for last-minute modifications to robot design.  Occasionally there would also be a motor that would not connect to a cortex, but this was mostly smoother than yesterday.  After 3:00, when parents began showing up, we began the tournament with 15 competing teams.  Each team was able to play in the tournament at least twice, and after about a dozen matches, the finalists were determined.  The winners of the tournament were Team Tanker and Disco Bot 2.0!  We were highly impressed by the quality of design and driving skills of all the students.  The students were able to take away the principles of building and programming robots with Vex IQ from this camp.  Hopefully they will use this knowledge to inspire and assist them in the future.