JAY — Wednesday, December 19 instructor Daniel Lemieux said his pre-engineering students showed grit and determination during a VEX robotics competition in Dover-Foxcroft on December 15.

“That’s what it takes on our world today, even if you fail. The more you fail, eventually you will have success,” he told his students. “You got better throughout the day.”

Students in the pre-engineering class at Spruce Mountain High School competed in a VEX robotics tournament in Dover-Foxcroft on Dec. 15. Jacob Bryant at left and Jaden Castonguay are seen making adjustments to their robot as they prepare for another competition Feb. 2 in Turner. Not in the picture are Isaac Corliss and William Desrosiers. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

This year’s game includes shooting balls to hit flags, lifting a cap with the team’s color on the top side onto poles and driving the robot onto a platform. Additional points are earned if the other alliance’s caps are knocked off the poles.

During the competition two alliances, each comprised of two teams, compete against each other to score the most points. There is a 15 second autonomous period when the pre-programmed robot completes tasks, then a one-minute fifteen-second interval when the robots are directed by one of its team members.

The team didn’t win any awards at the competition, but came back with several ideas on how to improve their robot before an event Feb. 2 in Turner.

Jacob Bryant said he enjoys building robots, taking things apart and designing things. He hopes to improve their robot by stabilizing the platform and fixing the lift.

Isaac Corliss learned motors can help a lot. For some things, it is easier to work with others.

William Desrosiers was surprised at how many different ways a robot could be built. He enjoyed working on the robot and is looking forward to having fun at the next competition.

For Jaden Castonguay, the most challenging thing was having to deal with programming and wiring when they’re not working as planned. He wants to learn more about programming and wiring to be more successful at the game.

The students explained how balls have to be shot at the top two flags to score points, but the lower flag can be turned by hitting it with the robot. The caps need to be rotated so the team’s color is always on the upper side. One team can knock another team’s cap off the pole and replace it with theirs.

Students in the pre-engineering class at Spruce Mountain High School competed in a VEX robotics tournament in Dover-Foxcroft on Dec. 15. William Desrosiers at left and Isaac Corliss watch as instructor Daniel Lemieux discusses different ways to adjust their robot’s ball thrower. Not in the picture are Jacob Bryant and Jaden Castonguay. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

“We almost did that,” Jacob said.

Lemieux said his students need to understand game scoring better to know which tasks earn more points for the team.

Students got the idea for their robot’s ball throwing attachment from a YouTube video.

“See what others are doing and figure out how to refine it. Use resources that are available and see the problems they’re facing,” Lemieux said.

The students’ robot has four movable locations but the front face is always flush to the front. That is a big advantage as it doesn’t fold up.

Lemieux said VEX is a lot cheaper and easier to run than the FRC program he also is an advisor for.

“The kids can be independent, take more risks,” he said. “It’s easier to see what you are doing during a match. You need cameras on the robot for FRC.”

For now, Jacob is the team’s only driver. He will see if anyone else is interested in the job before the next competition.

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