Sparking Interest in Middle and High School Students Using a Robotics Competition
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Sparking Interest in Middle and High School Students Using a Robotics Competition Dr. Mark McKinney, Dr. Robert Barsanti. Team America – The Citadel. Matthew Besnard Billy Ray Hopkins Joseph Riser Marc Smith. Overview. Introduction Background The Competition Lessons Learned

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Team America – The Citadel

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Team america the citadel

Sparking Interest in Middle and High School Students Using a Robotics CompetitionDr. Mark McKinney, Dr. Robert Barsanti

Team america the citadel

Team America – The Citadel

Matthew Besnard

Billy Ray Hopkins

Joseph Riser

Marc Smith



  • Introduction

  • Background

  • The Competition

  • Lessons Learned

  • Plans for the Future

Team two the citadel

Team Two – The Citadel

David Bunn

Franklin Culick

Brian Elender

David Huffman



  • Lego robot competition began in 2003

  • Means to stimulate interest in ECE

  • Held along with other E-Week festivities

  • Focus on programming not mechanical design

Team tupperware

Team Tupperware

Brett Burleigh

Travis Gregg

Kevin Sundeen

Devin Wilson



  • The Citadel is a Military Teaching College in Charleston, SC.

  • Two Engineering Departments

    • Civil and Environmental

    • Electrical and Computer

  • Host annual E-Week Activities for 350 local middle and high school students

Dev group the citadel

Dev. Group – The Citadel

Justin Gonnelli

Alexander Grimes

Darron Raines

Thomas Suggs

Citadel Winners

The competition


The Field

Lego robot masters berkeley middle mcsc

Lego Robot Masters – Berkeley Middle/MCSC

Katherine Touchberry

Rebekah Nobles

Abby Nobles

The competition1


The Robots

  • Educational Lego Mindstorm Kits

  • Each robot capable of batting and fielding

  • Kit contains a programmable brick, software, 2 DC motors, 2 light sensors, 2 touch sensors, gears, and lots of legos.

Just josh berkeley middle

Just Josh – Berkeley Middle

Joshua Williams

The competition2


The Rules

  • Each robot plays 3 outs as batter and fielder.

  • Order of play determined by coin flip.

  • At bat robot hits ball from tee and runs bases until an out is scored.

  • Fielding robot may capture ball to score an out.

  • Out is scored if robot fails to navigate bases, or if tee lands in outfield.

Lil sosa berkeley middle

Lil Sosa – Berkeley Middle

Cody Wall

M.S. Winner!

Lessons learned


Publicity- generating interest

  • Partnership with Math and Science hub.

  • Personal relationship with H.S. pre-engineering programs.

  • Website to provide information repository, logistics, and official rules.

  • Coordinate with The Citadels public relations dept. for local media coverage.

Trojans 1 cross high

Trojans 1 – Cross High

Teron Ravenell

Tyler Jones

Lessons learned1


Registration Process

  • Encourage early registration. Close registration 45 minutes prior to competition start.

  • Need at least 30 minutes to organize heats.

  • Picture of team and robot.

  • Publish heats, keep teams informed of competition status.

Raptors academic magnet high

Raptors – Academic Magnet High

Jillian Sanford

Karen Greene

Justin Whitfield

Jim Yates

Matthew Daniels

Zack Walle

Lessons learned2


The Competition

  • Ample additional hardware for repairs.

  • Access to PC’s for re-programming of robots.

  • Video projection to prevent crowding.

  • Score board for spectators and competitors.

  • Referee (with whistle) and assistant (to assure timely appearance) of teams at each field.

Old reliable timberland high

Old Reliable – Timberland High

William Holmes

H.S. Winner!

Lessons learned3


The Robots

  • Rugged design a necessity.

  • Accurate navigation more important than speed

  • Building a good fielder is harder than running bases.

    • Efficient search routine

    • Effective ball trapping

Lessons learned4


Post Competition

  • Trophies for winners and runner-ups.

  • Certificates of participation for all entries.

  • Best design, coolest looking robot, fastest robot ribbons.

  • The more prizes the better.

  • Winning robots recognized at e-week banquet.

Team america the citadel

Lego Baseball

Team america the citadel

Lego Baseball

Future plans


  • Increased entrants (multiple fields).

  • Improved robots.

  • Cadet mentoring

Back up slides

Back-up slides

High school bracket

High School Bracket

Great One

Great One


Old Reliable


Old Reliable

Lego Baseball

Middle school bracket

Middle School Bracket

Just Josh

Lil’ Sosa

Lil’ Sosa

Lego Baseball

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