Marauder Robotics participates in second year of tech competition

The Marauder Robotics 2018-19 team poses with its team sign and the robot it made. Front row, left to right: Mr. Roger Cooley, Harion Frazier, Jimmy Beehler, Mr. Jeff White. Second row, left to right:Mrs. Amanda Cooley, Mrs. Marybeth Muldowney, Mrs. Cindy McMillen, Alex Cooley, Michael Mitchell, Galen Benware, Tyler Jacques, Daniel Muldowney. Missing from photo: Jordan Cooley and Steven Zentz.

Marauder Robotics FTC No. 13945 entered its second year in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) competition. FTC teams consist of up to 15 team members, grades 7 through 12 and are challenged to design, build, program and operate a robot to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

Marauder Robotics competed in two events this season, the first one was held at St. John Fisher, Rochester, and the second one was held at Painted Post High School in Corning. At each event, 26 teams competed in the Excelsior NY Region Qualifier. Winning teams go on to compete for Regional and State Titles, and finally to the World championship. Every team has 5 rounds of controlling their robot and who ever scores the most points goes on to the next level.

Each season the team purchases an approved robotic kit, that the students and mentors help design, build, program and test. Cell phones are used for communication to the robot. Students must learn to program the robot to perform certain commands, such as driving forward or grasping an object. A new challenge is released each September and the team then builds the robot to accomplish the tasks within six to eight weeks.

This year’s theme was called “Rover Ruckus.” Teams had to develop robotic rovers that would lower themselves off a lander and compete against other robots in a mineral collection scenario inside a crater. Teams earned points by placing minerals into their robots’ cargo holds. Points were awarded for mineral collection, as well as several lander functions, such as landing, sampling, claiming and parking.

The Marauder Robotics team consists of Coaches Mrs. Cindy McMillen and Mr. Roger Cooley Jr. Mrs. Denise Zentz was instrumental in securing funding for the team’s new shirts. Running the administrative side of the club is Mrs. Marybeth Muldowney and Mrs. Amanda Cooley.

Students on the team include: Galen Benware, Jimmy Beehler, Alex Cooley, Jordan Cooley, Harion Frazier, Tyler Jacques, Michael Mitchell, Daniel Muldowney and Steven Zentz.

This year the team was excited to have Mr. Jeff White, the new Vice Principal of Dunkirk High School, attend the second competition of the year. Mr. White has had experience with robotics from the last school district he worked at (Salamanca Warrior Robots) before coming to Dunkirk. The team is very excited to have Mr. White involved with the team and is looking forward to further collaboration with him.

The team would also like to thank the sponsors who make it possible to continue the club. The Dunkirk School Board, WNY STEM Hub, NCCF (Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation) and the First Ward Falcons of Dunkirk, NY.

While the team did not qualify to go on to the regional competition, they enjoyed seeing the other teams from across the state and getting a chance to use the robot (Dillion 2.0) in the competition. Marauder Robotics will be doing community outreach at the Dunkirk Boys and Girls Club in the Spring. If you are a Dunkirk School district student, in grade 7-12 and interesting in learning more about joining the robotics team, please email Mrs. McMillen at cmcmillen@dunkirk.csd.org.

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