Robo Rangers climbing pyramidPublished 11:03am Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The second build season for the Cassopolis robotics team the Robo Rangers is under way.
Admittedly, when the team formed in October 2011, there were some members of the team who didn’t even know how to use some of the tools, let alone build a robot.
Things have changed in the past 12 months, according to Project Manger Molly Moroz.
“Those kids are now leading the build team,” Moroz said.
Paul Chapman, an advanced math teacher at Ross Beatty High School, agreed that the team has come a long way in a short period of time.
The team’s build season is six weeks long beginning in January and ending in February. The robot is then bagged Feb. 19 and cannot be touched until the Robo Rangers head off to competition in March.
This year’s competitions will be held in St. Joseph and Allendale.
The Robo Rangers are in the third week of this year’s build. The task in 2012 was to build a robot that could shoot a basketball. This year the object is to build a robot that can play Ultimate Accent, which basically means it can play Frisbee golf.
“There are three goals,” Chapman said. “The first one gets you a point, the second one gets you two points and the third one gets you three points.”
The last 15 seconds of the competition is known as the “end game” and this year the robot must climb a giant pyramid that has three rungs, the highest of which is 90 inches off the ground. The goal is to be hanging from the pyramid when time elapses.
There are about 25 members of the team again this year, according to Chapman.
The team is divided into two groups – builders and businessmen.
The business personnel are in charge of collecting sponsors since the school district does not provide funding for the team.
Everyone volunteers their time to be a part of the Robo Rangers.
Chapman said the two groups are pretty much split along gender lines with the males building the robot and the females running the business aspect of the team. He hopes to change that up this year.
One change has already been made in the fact Moroz is the project manager.
“Mr. Chapman and Mrs. (Julie) Herwick are my two favorite teachers,” Moroz said. “When they were founding this, they came to me and asked me if I was interested. I was really fascinated by the idea and it was an easy choice for me to join.”
Moroz said there is a lot of pressure being project manager and that there will be nothing but relief felt when the project is completed and bagged Feb. 19.
She recalls that finishing the first robot last year took right up until deadline.
“We stayed all night and finally finished at midnight,” she said.
Chapman said that the school district has been very supportive from the beginning.
Chapman and Herwick brought the idea to the school board and they gave their unanimous approval to create a robotics team.
The competitions this year will be March 15-16 in St. Joseph and March 22-23 in Allendale.