DECATUR – Young scientist and engineers are at Hope Academy in Decatur this weekend showing off their robotic creations.
Teams from around the state, including some local, are competing in the regional FIRST Tech Challenge for their chance to move onto the statewide competition. The team from Decatur, 5202 ZipTIE Fighters, was in attendance to help judge and run the competition. Argenta-Oreana Senior Hannah Lightner says the groups are learning about more than just science and engineering.
“They are also learning presentation skills and learning how to do outreach to get funding,” Lightner says. “You’ll also learn real life engineering skills. So even if you aren’t necessarily science and math based, there are definitely still things you can contribute.”
16-year-old Matt Coffey is the driver for Construction Zone Robotics out of Fairbury, IL. He says it’s a friendly competition for them, but they have put in a lot of work on their robot.
“We meet every Saturday for most of the day from September thru February,” Coffey says. “We do spend a lot of time on it, but we love doing it and it’s very rewarding for us.”
Each team’s robot was tasked with moving blocks and balls into scoring zones, or placing them in containers throughout the arena. Additionally, the teams would score points by having their robot climb up a steep hill.
The event was sponsored by the Macon County 4-H RoboStorms Club, and Macon County Extension Office. If you want to learn more about how your kids can get into robotics, you can contact Samantha Rusk at 217.877.6042