Pierz Robotics team, 'Mechaneers', building upon their success
An extra-curriculuar that many may not be aware of, Robotics at Pierz high school continues to ‘build success’ in their competitions this year.
Coached for the past three years by Mrs. Pat Tax and assisted for the past 2 years by Mrs. Mary Jo Schaefer, the high school offers this exciting, innovative and sometimes frustrating competition to both junior high and senior high students.
Students involved in Robotics at Pierz have many different aspirations: some of the students aspire to become mechanical engineers, some are looking at the medical field, some are thinking business and some are thinking public relations--whichever career path any of these students take, the skills they are learning in this after-school activity will indeed help them be that much more successful in their future endeavors.
Mrs. Tax explains the program in more detail: "As a school, we transitioned from FIRST Robotics to VEX Robotics three years ago. One of the major reasons we did this was because VEX places so much emphasis on student-run robotic building whereas FIRST needed much more industry collaboration.
We have the name of Pierz Mechaneers for our teams, currently a Senior High team and a Junior High team. Simon Kroll serves as president for both teams; Katie Schaefer is treasurer; Chrissy Schaefer is Engineer Notebook caretaker.
The competition this year is Turning Point--each year the competition is completely changed up forcing teams to focus on different build designs. So this year, the competition is on a 12’ x 12’ vinyl square field and our team has an alliance with another randomly chosen team and then they compete in a 15 second Autonomous period where the robot runs the field with a preprogrammed code and then in a 1 minute 45 second Driver Controlled period where they work with their robots to toggle flags, flip caps, lift caps onto poles and finally park their robots on raised platforms, earning points for each task performed. The joint team with the most points at the end of the 2 minute period is the winner.
Beyond the skills inherent in these contests of programming (we use C++), designing the robot for the multitude of tasks, building the robot to the specifications and notetaking there is also the soft skills of working as part of a team and in communicating with other teams as far as strengths and weaknesses and ultimately learning to succeed or persevere.
Next year we are hoping to add a VEX IQ pathway that will be offered to 4-6 graders that will allow them to engage in the same types of building, designing and coding, including competitions alongside these awesome students." GO MECHANEERS! #mechaneerpride