GREENWICH, Conn. -- Members of the robotics team from The Stanwich School in Greenwich placed eighth at the recent New York/New Jersey Botball Tournament in Rahway, N.J., which was the team's first-ever competition.
Relying strictly on their technical wizardry, sophomore Aidan Sebold and freshmen Brandon McClean and Henry Hittle managed to exceed their own expectations in their inaugural robotics competition. The team was formed in January under the tutelage of Craig Bolotin, The Stanwich School’s education technologist.
“We didn’t go complex, and that helped us," Sebold said. "We could go a little more complex next year and spend some more time in the planning process. That could help us score higher.”
McClean credited his team’s success to “staying simple.” To rank the teams, seeding rounds took place before double elimination. After the first of three rounds, Stanwich earned enough points to gain an initial fifth seed. After three rounds of holding steady, the team entered the double elimination round seeded sixth out of 20 schools, finishing the day tied for eighth place overall.
“There were a lot of teams there,” Hittle said. “Because this was our first time entering [the competition], we didn’t expect to do as well as we did.”
Unlike many competitions that rely heavily on the team’s coach, Botball relies on the students working together to generate computer-programmed analysis in order to execute its desired effect.
“There was no adult interaction allowed during the actual competition,” said Jerome Murphy, head of the Upper School at Stanwich. “This required the kids to take ownership of what they were doing. In the end, they displayed good sportsmanship and accomplished a fantastic achievement.”
The mechanical components used in Botball are Lego technic bricks and other metal structural supports as defined by this year’s tournament kit contents.
“The object of the game is to build a robot that will earn the maximum amount of points by collecting and distributing poms or Ping Pong balls across the board at various locations,” Murphy said. “The students wrote programs and built the robots to successfully complete the various tasks laid out for them.”
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