BERLIN — Although technically closed for the holiday Monday, the halls of Stephen Decatur High School were by no means empty.
The robotics team, comprised of students from both SDHS and Snow Hill High School had a deadline to meet and, President’s Day or no, they were going to meet it.
The students are participating in the Rebound Rumble a robot building competition sponsored by First Robotics that pits teams from all across the continent against one another for what amounts to ore than $14 million in college scholarships.
The team is divided into sub-teams ranging the spectrum of what might be called the technical arts. In addition to the physics and mechanics required to put the robot together, there is a planning team and a business team.
The less science-y team members handle logistics, fundraising and promotion, which is an important lesson — science is as much a business as an academic endeavor.
It takes funding and coordination and is as reliant on the people who do the facilitating as the people who do the calculations.
But at crunch time, with everything else all ready to go, the team members responsible for making the robot shoot baskets were working out the last few bugs. Once they were certain it was as together as it could be, the students will dissemble the robot and ship it off to the Baltimore Convention Center where the state competition will be held.
From there, should the team prevail, they will fly to St. Louis for the national competition.
The team and competition is sponsored by, among other corporations, JC Penny who provided the $6,500 for the base model kit.
The way the competition works is that the students are assigned a task to complete.
This year the challenge is to have a functioning basketball robot. Some of the robots were assigned to play defense but the SDHS team was given the task of building a robot that could shoot baskets.
The base model kit is essentially just a large remote-control chassis. The students are then responsible to invent and construct the rest of the moving parts.
The team adult leaders are Michele Kosin, physics teacher from SHHS, Dale Krantz, tech teacher from SDHS and Dad/Mentor Dave Quelland, whose son Skylar designed the machine on his computer.
The competition will be held the weekend of March 8 in Baltimore, after that, the team could very well be St. Louis-bound.