NIST Programmers Earn Recognition at VEX World Robotics Championship

Two teams of NIST Robotics secondary school students travelled to Louisville, Kentucky, USA, to compete at the  VEX World Robotics Championship after they qualified at the Thailand tournament. As the largest robotics competition in the world, the event drew 600 elementary school and 800 middle and high school teams from across the world this year, grouped in divisions of approximately 100 teams each. Since its launch over a decade ago, VEX has sought to use the competition to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, citing “an unprecedented need for new innovators, thinkers, and problem solving leaders.”

 

The NIST participants formed an all-middle-school team called DotDotBot that competed in the middle school competition (which included 200 teams) and a mixed middle and high school team called White Elephants that competed in the high school competition (which included a staggering 600 teams). Students learned valuable lessons on teamwork, perseverance, problem solving, taking initiative, communication, handling stressful situations and pressure, and more as they programmed, planned and operated their robots.

Team DotDotBot won the Judges Award for their division, one award of only 13 for each division. “The Judges Award is presented to a team that the judges determine is deserving of special recognition, meaning our young engineers made themselves stand out for their work in the competition!

One of the final events of the competition is always the unveiling of next year’s game, which at first glance appears to be a very challenging game: Turning Point.

 
As they left the tournament, NIST students were already buzzing about how to design robots that meet the challenge and stick to the rules of the competition. Throughout the past several years, more and more students at NIST have been engaged by the high level of competitiveness and hands-on learning that is involved in robotics, and the programme will likely continue to grow.

We look forward to seeing our future programmers, engineers and mathematicians on the world stage again soon!

NIST Students Take Top Honors at Bangkok Vex Robotics Competition

On Saturday, 4 February the Battle in Bangkok: Starstruck Thailand Vex Robotics Competition was hosted at NIST International School, with teams from NIST, International School Bangkok and Thai-Chinese International School all competing for a place at the world event. The NIST Falcons secured the Excellence Award, qualifying them for the VEX Robotics World Championship, the culminating event of the season, held in April, with the top teams from across the United States and around the world who seek to become world champions.

To prepare for the competition, the NIST team worked together to design and build a robot using VEX EDR that could quickly and efficiently solve specific obstacles and challenges that come with playing the VEX Robotics Competition Starstruck game. Each week, the students apply what they’ve learned about science, technology, engineering and math in order to build the semiautonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition: communication, project management, site management and the importance of composure, as they have to learn how to lose as much as they have to learn how to win.

Jason Tiefel, who coached the NIST teams and organized the event, indicated that the programme is still growing in Thailand, but offers a great deal of appeal to students and builds skills that parallel the principles of the IB programme: “I could not be more proud of the effort and achievement the students displayed. They put in many hours of extra work to prepare, and the competition gave them a goal to strive for that ignited their interest in learning more about robotics. I even had seniors that started the competition, left for exams and college interviews, then came back and finished as tournament champions! As an educator it is amazing to see the students applying their skills of creativity, collaboration, dynamic problem solving, resilience, and strategic thinking in a way that is fun and engaging.”

The Battle in Bangkok: Starstruck Thailand is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. The VEX Robotics Competition is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 16,000 teams from 40 countries that participate in more than 1,300 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide. Building on the newfound success by the NIST Falcons, the event is set to grow even further in Bangkok, and they’re eager to take on new challenges at the world championship.


For more information about the VEX Robotics Competition, visit roboticseducation.org and robotevents.com.