Girl Scout-sponsored Terrific Techbots receives ‘Motivate Award’ during Tacoma robotics competition

The Terrific Techbots

FIRST Robotics team Terrific Techbots #14563 — made up of local Girl Scouts including five from Brier Terrace Middle School — received the “Motivate Award” during a recent inter-league competition involving 39 teams in Tacoma.

According to Terrific Techbots coach Heather Margo, the award recognized the girls’ teamwork, community outreach, extensive technical learning and ability to overcome obstacles.

FIRST robotics is a robot-building challenge that brings together students from around the world in grades 7-12 to build robots. In August, the robot challenge is released and in November the competitions begin. Each year there are guidelines, restrictions and game rules. This year’s theme was building towers. In addition to the robot build, FIRST robotics promotes team work, personal development and skill progression. At competitions, awards are granted to teams for points scored on the mat as well as technical awards.

According to Margo, the Terrific Techbots have been building robots for six years. The team is made up of 10 girls and is sponsored by Girl Scouts of Western Washington. It includes five students from Brier Terrace Middle School, two from Edmonds-Woodway High School, one from Meadowdale High School, one from the Bothell School District and one Edmonds Community College Running Start international exchange student.

Team members work three days a week during build season to put together a robot that will achieve the game challenges, Margo explained. The challenge consists of two parts. The first part is an autonomous mode. In this portion, the robot is programmed in JAVA and must achieve certain tasks on the mats to score points. This year those tasks included choosing a specific block, moving it to a new location, moving another base plate, and parking the robot in a defined spot. This must be done in 30 seconds or less. Following this portion of the event, the robot is controlled from the sidelines using game controllers. During this portion there are additional tasks to be completed.

“This year’s robot is really amazing,” Margo said. “The team built it completely from their own design and it is able to achieve most of the tasks presented. It has been a real challenge.”

During the off-season, the team will continue to develop their skills so they will be ready in August for a new challenge, she added.

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