Bob Jones Academy’s Middle School robotics teams, Light Brigade and Alpha and Omega, placed 1st and 14th respectively out of 49 teams at the end of the qualifying rounds at the Palmetto State VEX Robotics Competition held Saturday, Mar. 2, at Dutch Fork Elementary School in Irmo, South Carolina. Both teams entered the elimination rounds with the Light Brigade continuing on to win the state championship.
In VEX programs, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Classroom STEM concepts are put to the test as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, and communications. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels and culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship each April.
“This was an unbelievably exciting day for our students!” says Dr. Dan Nelson, BJA administrator and coach of the robotics teams. “They have invested so much time together this year designing, building, programming, testing, and competing with their robots. And through all the thrill and excitement, they have unknowingly learned excellent STEM skills that will benefit them for life.”
Tim Jones, BJA faculty member, along with Dr. Nelson coached the BJA teams through the state qualifying rounds which required teams to demonstrate their robot’s ability to complete a variety of skills both in autonomous mode and remotely guided by the students. The Light Brigade team was the only undefeated team after the qualifying rounds. They then formed an alliance with the Insquiring team from College Park Middle School in Berkeley County, South Carolina, for the elimination rounds. The Light Brigade team went on to win the tournament with a record of 10-0-1.
The BJA Light Brigade team composed of Daniel Hand, Samuel Headley, Jonathan Lovegrove, Henry Miller, Joseph Moran, and Kai Nickerson also won the competition’s Amaze Award, given for building a competition robot that clearly demonstrated overall quality, a solid mechanical design, robot programming, robustness, strong performance, and consistency.
As the winner of the state championship, Bob Jones Academy will represent South Carolina at the VEX Robotics World Championship, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, April 28–30, 2019.
The VEX Robotics Competition is the world’s largest and fastest-growing educational robotics competition. Presented by VEX Robotics and the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, the event includes 20,000 teams competing in over 40 countries.