Members of the Rolla robotics teams attended the Rolla Board of Education meeting Thursday to show board members and administrators what they did to win a state championship recently. Actually, there are three teams; two of those teams are rookie teams and one is a veteran team that went to the state finals last year, too.
The students, eighth graders and seniors and all grade levels between, work together to build robots that will accomplish specific tasks.
Leigh Ann Tumbrink, their coach, turned most of the presentation over to the students, who moved the robots around in front of the conference table. Some administrators and board members took out their camera-phones to shoot pictures. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis, an avid “tweeter” on Twitter.com put pictures on that social media site.
Students explained their task was to play tic-tac-toe with the robots, using the robot arm to grasp rings that were placed on a game grid. It sounds simple, but the construction of the robots and their programming would be far beyond the capability of most area residents, including the board members. The students were patient, though.
“Any questions?” asked one student after his explanation.
Tumbrink spoke with pride, making a couple of key observations.
One, she noted that her team members were all cordial to competing teams; some of the other teams had built robots designed only to bump and damage their competitors’ robots. Rolla students acted more like young engineers than did some of their competitors.
Two, Tumbrink noted that the teams have a healthy number of rookies, some of them in eighth grade, and marveled at the possibilities for the future competitions as they gain experience.