Robotics Weekend!!

It has been such a whirlwind these past few days! Friday morning we headed down to Kenner, about an hour from BR. Parents carpooled the kiddos and I took my car since Carly was already down there and I was her ride back.

Let the pictures show you the fun! Because seriously, words cannot describe the excitement that is literally palpable in the air during the FIRST Bayou Regional Robotics Competition. You walk in the Convention Center and there are hundreds of high schoolers in safety googles, team colors, with props, headgear, costumes, music is blasting, robots are everywhere! Giant, up to 120 pound robots, and they have the right of way at Robotics competitions btw.

This year's theme was Power Up! And it was a game show setup. The robots have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to complete the match. During the match, the first 15 seconds the robot has to be entirely autonomous and get over the line on the field. Some teams program their robot to do more than just roll over the line, but this is a very advanced task.

There are two "alliances": the red and the blue. There are three robot teams on each alliance.

So after the first 15 seconds, the game is this: teams have to collect yellow power cubes and bring them to the scale or the switches. The alliance that holds the scale or the switch gets more points. Robots can also bring power cubes to the human player and then get power ups, for more points. The alliance with the most points wins.

The teams keep track of the other teams whose robots perform well, for the final 8 alliances for finals.

It is beyond exciting. I am so glad I was able to take my Robotics team here so that they could experience this.
 We are a feeder school for two of BR's high schools, Lee Magnet High and Baton Rouge High. They have a joint FRC team and we were invited into the pits to see them and learn all about their robot. Here they are!


 Safety goggles must be worn in pits at FRC, lots of tools and welding going on back here. It's very technical and involved!

NASA was there! They showed us an Augmented Reality activity where the Curiosity rover pops up 3D on your phone and you get to maneuver the surface of Mars. Very cool.
 We also did an activity with NASA where they had to rank items of importance in case you got stranded on the surface of Mars or the moon.



The US Air Force came out and brought their robot rover, also extremely complicated (and expensive!), that they use for explosive devices.


Most of the kid took a turn controlling the robot. 




Then it was our turn to man the FIRST LEGO League booth. We spent two hours playing on the field and practicing our codes for the challenge missions.

 Here we are, repping Mayfair!! It was a great day. Soon after this pic, they loaded back up in parents' cars and headed back to Baton Rouge. They thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I'm so happy that I was able to give this to them.
Yes, they missed a day of school and learning in core subjects, but this first hand experience and hands on learning can never be replaced and cannot be learned from a book or lesson plan. 

Carly's team had already run their matches for the day, and were waiting for the end of the competition day. The finals were to take place on Saturday, so her and her friends were just going to hand in the seats and cheer on other teams. 

It also just so happened that March 23 is my best friend's birthday! She and her hubby were celebrating in Nola so I hopped up on I-10 and 35 minutes later I pulled into a parking garage off Royal street. Amanda and Chris were hanging out at The Beach on Bourbon so I walked right on in and we had a BLAST for a few hours. 


We had dinner at Felix's and chowed down on chargrilled oysters and they were DA BOMB.

Saturday morning carbs were this:
No regrets. Go big or go home, buddy. 

Then it was all about SJA!!
Buttons are a big thing at the FRC Bayou Regional. They are everywhere and you need to get them all. From every team!

Carly is mechanical lead on her team. She had to fix the robot before their first match.


Though The Shield wasn't chosen for an alliance and didn't win, the girls had fun and learned lots.  

 High school is all about having fun, making mistakes, learning new things, and making friends that will last a lifetime. Carly and Anne Marie walked out of the pits happy and already excited for next year's competition!

Carly and I packed the car, went to Atomic Burger for a shake, visited the Metarie Trader Joe's, and headed home. Exhausting weekend but well worth it!

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