The Parkview Pantera

VEX robotics takes the win

Thuy Pham, Managing Editor

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With the growing focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), learning programs that integrate STEM fundamentals and concepts are emphasized because they offer students creative opportunities to explore outside of the standard curriculum. An ideal and effective platform at Parkview High School that enables students to develop a higher level of education in this technology-based culture is the VEX Robotics Program.“VEX has taken over my life,” said VEX president, senior Daniel Webb, “it’s the focus of my high school.”

VEX enriches students’ lives through intense level of competition that enhances skills such as communication, coding, building, leadership, etc. In VEX tournaments, students design, program, construct, and drive a robot to compete against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. “VEX has really help me to access the problem solving side of my brain and help me exercise my critical thinking skills,” said Webb.

Competitions include standard matches that feature two alliances of two teams playing against one another, robot skill challenges where one robot and driver play in a race against time, and programming skill challenges where one robot uses sensors to run autonomously. Through the engineering skills student acquire through participating in VEX tournaments, vice-president, junior Frank Tang said, “VEX help student fulfill the necessary components of problem solving, critical thinking, and STEM.”

The game for the VEX Robotics competition this year is Starstruck. The match is played on a 12’x12’ square field with twenty-four stars and four cubes. Two alliances composed of two teams compete to obtain a higher score by throwing the stars and cubes across a fence that divides the alliances. Robots can also score points by hanging on the hanging bar. At the end of the match, the alliance that scores more points advances to the next round to compete for the title of grand champion.Parkview High School’s VEX Robotics Program competed in its first tournament on October 15th at South Forsyth High School. Team 1356C (Calamity) finished as the tournament champions, thus qualifying for the state tournament in March. Team 1356X (Xecution) placed runner up with a perfect score of 5-0 and the number one ranked team out of fifty competing teams during the qualifying matches. Team 1356B (Bane) reached the semi-finals, and team 1356A (Anarchy) reached the quarter-finals.

At the second tournament on October 29th at Collins Hill High School, team 1356B qualified for the state tournament by winning the Design Award and reached the semi-finals. Team 1356X finished runner up to the tournament champions in the finals. Team 1356C reached the semi-finals, and team 1356A reached the quarter-finals.At the third tournament on November 5th at Ola High School, team 1356A qualified for the state tournament by finishing as the tournament champions. Team 1356B won the Judge’s Award and the Robot Skills Champion Award.

The team is currently ranked 15th in the world in the Robot Skills Challenge. Team 1356C and 1356X reached the semi-finals.At the fourth tournament on November 11th at the Georgia Fall Leadership Conference in Jekyll Island, team 1356C and team 1356X reached the semi-finals. Team 1356C won the Robot Skills Challenge with a score of 51.Overall, the teams had a great showing at all their tournaments and demonstrated the superiority of Parkview’s VEX Robotics program.

Coaches Terry Cotton and Anthony Hess exhibit pride for their students and their accomplishments at this early stage in the year. Both coaches agree that Parkview is well on track to qualify for the annual VEX Robotics World Championship held in Louisville, Kentucky. The students’ determination and passion continues to develop along with their aspirations to win the VEX Georgia State Tournament and compete in the divisional finals at the 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship.

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VEX robotics takes the win