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Robotics competition takes over Massari Arena

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The annual VEX Robotics Competition invaded Pueblo Saturday afternoon and ran like a properly programmed mechanical creature. The 20 teams from around Colorado competed at CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena to show off their excellence in engineering and programming.

Photo courtesy of vexforum.com.

All students are given the same material to build the best robot possible. The teams work together to construct the bot and operate it during the competition.

All middle school and high school students who were in the competition were competing for the ultimate prize, the Excellence Award. The award is given to the team that wins the tournament style competition. They also move on to the VEX Worlds Competition where they have the chance to put their robots up against 20 other countries.

The VEX Robotics Competition was created to give students in high school and middle school the opportunity to learn science, technology, engineering and math. It is also an affordable way to give kids the experience of building, programming and operating the robots.

It began with a qualifying round in which the top eight teams were allowed to pick one of the other 10 teams they would compete with over the tournament round.   

The competition took place in a 12-by-12 field with two alliances. The red and blue teams, respectively, began with a twenty-second autonomous period, followed immediately by a two-minute drive period. During the drive period the goal was to control the robot to pick up balls and put them in designated areas for points.

This program serves as a building block for all the competitors to gain critical thinking skills such as teamwork and leadership, according to VEX. In addition to the robotics events, there was also an area where the students could go to learn more about the programs that are available at CSU-Pueblo, such as the engineering program.

The world competitions are held in California at the end of April.  Much like the competition held Saturday; the world competition challenges the students are required to build robots that are much like the ones they built in previous competitions. The only difference is that there are over 700 teams students will have to compete against.