Keller Citizen

Keller ISD students engineer skills for first robotics contest

Fourteen teams from Keller district high schools along with Hillwood Middle School competed in the very first Keller ISD Robotics Competition Oct. 28 at Timberview Middle School.

About 70 students from school engineering clubs participated in the contest, which involved scoring points by having robots move and stack large plastic pegs and open-faced cubes. Each team had four matches and was randomly paired with another team and competed against another pair of teams. The winning pair was the one that scored the most points in the two minutes allotted. By contest rules, teams could not interfere with competing robots.

Keller High School Team 3 won the contest, with Central High School Team 2 beating out Keller High School Team 2 in a face off round for second. Hillwood Middle School Team 3 took fourth, quite an accomplishment for seventh and eighth-graders competing against juniors and seniors.

“I think our dual lift system and the fact that we can really maneuver on the field gave us the advantage,” said Parker Stutsman, Keller High senior and part of the winning team.

Other members of the first place team were Keller juniors Caitlyn Scott and Vincent Demma.

Their design featured a linear lift system that also had an articulated arm that folded neatly. It was quick, sturdy, productive and would fit inside an 18-inch cube when folded up, a requirement in some robot competitions.

In addition to designing, building and testing their robots, students also had to design computer programs and control systems to run the ‘bot.

Central High senior Tori Rusk said she and the three other members of her second place team, which scored a contest high number of points in the face-off round, worked more than 30 hours perfecting their robot.

Shawn Schmuck, an engineering teacher at Keller High School, organized the contest.

“It gives students an interesting engineering assignment and teaches teamwork,” Schmuck said.

Students have to work through problems and weaknesses.

“They see how math applies to the real world,” he said. “We have a lot of students who are interested in going into the emerging field of robotics.”

Donovan Brown, Timber Creek High School junior, said he enjoyed building the robot and seeing what it could do. He and other competitors said they wanted to become engineers.

Andre Dean, engineering teacher at Timber Creek High School, said, “They get hands-on experience with mechanical engineering, design engineering and electrical engineering.”

Casey Stone, director of career and technical education, said that the top teams would be funded by the district to compete in an area robot contest later this year.