LEGO ROBOTS GO INTO BATTLE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS BUILD COMPUTER-PROGRAMMED MODELS.
LANCASTER -- Lancaster High School's robotics team will host the Antelope Valley's first Lego robot tournament today for local middle school students.
The competition will feature computer-programmed robots built with the plastic building blocks by 13 teams of students from Cole, Desert Christian, Endeavour, Park View, Sacred Heart and Tehachapi schools, as well as two Girl Scout troops.
``They provide you with kits, a diagram, software and Legos in order to build a robot with a computer and also different pieces made of Legos,'' said Cathy Schuster, co-principal and language arts teacher at Sacred Heart School. ``We like to involve students in after-school activities that help to enrich and grow capabilities and to encourage more interest in science, math, robotics and engineering.''
The competition starts at 9a.m. in Lancaster High's small gym.
The teams had about two months to build their robots, which can be no bigger than a 16-inch cube but can have extending arms or other parts. The robot-building kits came with 1,300 pieces of Legos.
``Ours has three motors, claws and a plow,'' said Lancaster High senior Nicholas Hayes, a Sacred Heart alumnus who volunteered to be Sacred Heart's team advisor.
And the robots have sensors that ``make it more capable and more aware of their surroundings,'' Hayes said.
Hayes approached Sacred Heart to start a team because he wished something like that had been available to him in middle school.
Teams score points based on missions they complete using the robot, such as one where the robots push a toy truck up a ramp and raise the truck using a lift, Hayes said.
The students had to calculate the rotation of the wheels to go a certain distance, how many rotations were needed to go 2feet, and the angle or degree of turn to move the robot around, Schuster said.
The robot's computer is programmed to perform functions at the push of a button, she said.
A Sacred Heart School student gets the school's computer-programmed Lego robot ready for a demonstration on Friday.
Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer