The girls’ got game.
The Lady Dragons from the Lake Orion High School Robotics Team 302, along with some girls from high school engineering classes, teamed up to compete in the annual Bloomfield Girls Robotics Competition on Nov. 11.
Each of the girl’s had a chance to compete with the robot on the field during preliminary matches.
Following some tense moments in the finals, the girls came in second place along with their alliance partners, The Flying Toasters from South Lyon, The Warriors from Livonia and Midnight Mercy Storm from Detroit.
There were a total of 32 teams competing in the tournament.
The idea behind the girls competition is to encourage participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities and to give girls a chance to experience all facets of a robotics competition, which may not always be possible on a coed team.
That means the girls do everything — they drive the robots, they handle the mechanical issues, they do the repairs.
The first half of the day the girls took turns controlling the robot during their on-field matches. At mid-day, following some repairs to the robot, the team ranked fairly low in the team standings.
Undaunted, the ladies stepped up to each match with enthusiasm to see what they could do.
Since competing requires multiple robots to perform multiple tasks, teams form alliances.
During preliminary matches the alliances are randomly selected and rotate teams with every match.
For the playoffs, Team 302 was chosen to be a part of an alliance with teams, The Flying Toasters, The Warriors and The Midnight Mercy Storm.
There were some rough matches and tense moments, but the teams scored sufficient points by shooting balls, scoring gears to turn rotors and having their robots climb ropes to make it into the finals.
The girls finished off the 2017 season and retired their robot, named Night Fury, on a high note with a second place finish. They headed home with a trophy and an appreciation for their STEM abilities.
As one of the girls noted, “It’s chill to show others and see that girls are just as capable of successfully performing in STEM as guys.”
Prior to this competition more than half of the girls had not experienced competitive robotics and were only able to practice a handful of times prior to the actual event.
— Bonnie Witcpalek, LOHS Robotics Team 302 Co-Business Lead Mentor.