Robotics team headed for state

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The Holleybots robotics team placed second at a regional competition last month to earn a spot in the state competition on Saturday, Jan. 14, in Hillsboro.

This is the third year that Holley Elementary School has fielded the Lego robotics team.

The Holleybots were runner-up for the director’s award, student Tyler Fosback said.

The team was judged on teamwork, their project and robotics, student Charles Links said.

The competition has two parts. First, the team must research a problem, figure out a solution and give a five-minute presentation. Then the team must operate a robot, which must complete up to nine tasks.

This year, the team’s presentation is offered in the form of a skit based on the TV game show “Jeopardy.” The Holleybots call their presentation “Jeopardize.”

Teachers Kathi Collins and Marsha Carper are leading the Holleybots.

The task this year was to research a problem related to the ocean, and Holley students decided to tackle the problem of marine invasive species, non-native species that kill local species, student Kyle Moore-McKay said. The robot moves on a table and completes tasks designed to mimic the ocean.

In robotics, “we can try to complete as many of the missions as we can,” Fosback said. The team could tackle up to nine projects in two and a half minutes. Right now, the team has its robot doing six missions.

The team must take into account all kinds of factors as it sets up its robot to complete tasks on a tabletop designed to simulate the ocean, Collins said. Even the charge in the battery affects how the robot moves.

The team finished the second highest on creativity for creativity, mentor and mom Martha Moore said.

The whole goal is to teach the children creative problem solving by learning about and trying to solve real-world problems, Collins said.

“They’ve done well in the presentations,” Collins said. “The technical part has been more difficult.”

The team’s competition include people who work for companies such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard, Collins said. She said the Holleybots could use help from a mentor in the area of robotics.

For more information, call Holley School at 367-7162.

The team includes Fosback, who has been a member for three years; two-year participants Megan Graville, Emily Claborn, Christina Ulmer and Links; and first-year participants Matt Dixon, Moore-McKay and Steven Ulmer.