Westwood offers exciting endeavors in science and technology for students. For several years, Westwood has had robotics teams. Currently Westwood supports three robotics teams that include students currently attending Westwood along with some high school students who are Westwood alumni. These three teams participate in VEX Robotics Competitions. In VEX, students take metal parts, wheels, and other parts to craft, design, and create a robot that will complete specific tasks in order to score points. Starstruck was the VEX game for the 2016-17 school year. The game tasks included picking up oddly shaped rubber stars and tossing or pushing them over into the opponent’s field area. Robots could also earn extra points by “hanging.” This occurs when the robot lifts off the game mat and suspends from a pole on the field.
All three Westwood teams experienced success in competition this season. Westwood VEX Robotics attended seven competitions in three states and qualified at least one team in the elimination rounds in every event. Cabin 9 made it to two quarterfinals, four semi-finals, and the finals in one competition. SteamBotics went to quarterfinals five times, semi-finals twice, and earned the Sportsmanship Award at the Mahoning Valley Qualifier in Ohio and at the West Virginia State Championship. Our Classical Mechanics went to the quarter-finals twice, semifinals once, the finals three times, and won the coveted Tournament Champion Award at the Bridge Valley Community Technical College Qualifier. Congratulation to each team on their hard work and dedication.
Westwood is also offering an awesome opportunity to all of our sixth grade students thanks to funding provided by the WV Department of Education through the Office of Diversion and Transition and support through NASA IV and V and Monongalia County Schools. Through this collaboration, each sixth grader will get to be on a robotics team. Students will work in teams through their science classes to build and program Lego robots to compete on a game board. Students try to program the robots to complete game board missions for points in the game. Towards the end of the semester, a competition will be held at Westwood for these teams to determine which team can score the most points. These LEGO teams will also compete in teamwork challenges and the Animal Allies project. In the project, students will research to determine a problem that animals and humans have with co-existing and devise innovative ways to solve that issue.
This STEM endeavor will also continue in seventh grade where students once again work in teams to build and program robots for a different game challenge along with competing in teamwork and project. All seventh graders will compete on a school level, and a few of the winning teams from the school competition will go on to participate in the state level LEGO Robotics Competition.
This is an exciting adventure for our sixth grade students. The school competition in May will be open to parents. We hope that parents and community members will able to attend and see what students have learned over the semester. Parents, community members, and students who are interested in learning more may visit FIRST LEGO League Robotics and/ or VEX Robotics.