BotsIQ preliminaries draw big crowd at Westmoreland County Community College
Showing off their ingenuity and creativity, hundreds of high school students from across Southwestern Pennsylvania competed in the BotsIQ competition preliminaries held recently at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood.
More than 50 teams from 40 schools participated, in which students built their own robots were then pitted against other robots from different teams.
“This is a really exciting event,” BotsIQ volunteer organizer Terri Campbell said. “It's a fun, hands-on event that teaches the students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while also giving them the opportunity to actually look into career paths related to these fields.”
The event is in its eighth year and has grown immensely in both participation and skill level, Campbell said.
“The first year we only had six teams,” Campbell said, adding that the robots were simple and slower. “After that first year, they started to do more research and watch other competitions to see what they could do.”
The students are required to design a robot, write down and explain its wiring and its functions, build the robot, then be able to bring it to the competition to try its durability against others.
The robots can be of any design, must not exceed 15 pounds, and must be functional to compete.
“Ours was working great yesterday,” Southmoreland High School student Andrew Davidovich, 15, said of the team's robot,“Night Crawler,” which was unable to compete March 22 because it wasn't operating.
The second team from Southmoreland, with their robot “B.A.R,” was able to compete in the first round but had to forfeit the second round.
That competition wasn't for any prizes, but a seeding opportunity for the finals, which will be held April 19 at California University of Pennsylvania.
“There will not be any winners or losers this weekend,” Campbell said at the time of the competition. “They will only see how they will be seeded for the event in April.”
Schools selected their teams in different manners. Some brought gifted students. Others brought students from classes that focus on technology.
“We have a class for this,” Southmoreland faculty member Christopher Pollard said of the BotsIQ class the district now offers; 16 students attend. “Last year, we competed as a club. This year it's a class.”
In addition to offering students the ability to look into the areas of STEM, BotsIQ is a way for students in interact with others while having fun.
“I do this because it's really fun,” Davidovich said.
The event is sponsored by numerous businesses and organizations. Each team is paired with at least one business.
“We can't say enough about how great the people at Penn State Tool and Die have been to us,” Southmoreland High School student Bobby Skowronek said of his team's sponsor. “They have been really great to work with on this project.”
Even the teams who did not compete over the weekend will still be eligible to compete in the April finals.
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.