AMES, Iowa – Gears, motors and balloons were a highlight during the 2012 Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge at the Iowa State Fair. Teams from across the state competed in this two-day event at the 4-H Exhibits Building.
Twelve teams competed at the junior and senior levels. The teams were given two challenges the day of their competition: to build a robot using the Lego Mindstorms NXT platform, and to build a second robot using only items in a “junk drawer.”
“We try to really challenge teams to think out of the box and work together,” said Holly Bignall, a 4-H youth development program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Bignall also is programming coordinator for 4-H STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and math).
“This year’s challenges really stretched our youth, and I think the individual youth and the teams have benefited from the process of devising creative solutions. It’s these thinking skills that programs like this foster that will help these youth become tomorrow’s innovators,” Bignall said.
The following awards were presented during the Aug. 13-14 event. Photos of the junior and senior challenges can be viewed on the 4-H Flickr site.
Sci-Tech, Muscatine County, received the 4-H Engineer Award, for the highest combined score from the challenge’s two robot-building events. The team also received the NXT Challenge Award as the top scoring team in that challenge and the Innovative Programming Award. This award goes to the team whose NXT Challenge program is notable for its innovation in producing desired robot behavior. Team members are Derek Johnson, Aaron Scott, Max Roth, Collin Carroll, John Brooks and Caleb Anderson. Coaches are Jerry Anderson and David Scott.
MHS Robotics, Linn County, received the Junk Drawer Challenge Award for scoring the highest in that event and the Mechanical Ingenuity Award, given to the team whose Junk Drawer Challenge robot is notable for out-of-the-box design solutions. The team also received the Clover Award for demonstrating the 4-H values of teamwork, cooperation, generosity, responsibility, learning, working within space, time and materials constraints and showing respect for others. Team members are Tara Zumwalt, Ross Brunner, Willis Fulmer, Steven Long and Austin Priborsky. The team is coached by Chris Martin.
Master Builders, Winneshiek County, received the Engineering Elegance Award for their robot’s visual appeal and the Creative Solution Award, given to the team whose NXT robot demonstrates a remarkably creative solution to an engineering dilemma encountered. Team members are Logan Brincks, Lucas Brincks, Devin Franzen and Eric Franzen. Coaches are Mary Brincks and Connie Franzen.
In addition, Brincks and Franzen received the Golden Clover Volunteer Award. This award goes to team volunteers who provide leadership by encouraging teamwork and appropriate but restrained guidance, allowing youth to engage in the engineering process and being an example of 4-H values.
LEGO Masterminds, Scott County was named runner-up for the Innovative Programming Award. Team members are Jake Vaughn, Isaiah Vaughn, Claudia Vaughn and Logan Nugent. Coaches are Timothy Vaughn and Terri Vaughn.
Sci-Tech, Muscatine County, was named runner-up for the Mechanical Ingenuity award.
Hardin County 4-H received the 4-H Engineer Award, the NXT Challenge Award and the Junk Drawer Challenge Award. The team also was named runner-up for the Mechanical Ingenuity Award. Team members are Alex Geitz, Samantha Reinertson, Jake Miller, Emily Stansbury, Joseph Tibbs, Joel Stephenson and Devon Wilson. The team is coached by Jason Miller.
Hawk Engineers, Delaware County, received the Clover Award. Team members are Parker Ostrander, Alex Schnieders, Dakota Waterhouse, Kyle Edwards and Grant Borchardt. Coaches are Tina Ostrander and Alan Schnieders.
Lake Mills, Winnebago County, received the Innovative Programming Award. Team members are Andrew Mannes, Grant Fjelstad, Cooper Rogness, Clay Hagen and Jace Johnson. Coaches are Alan Johnson and Jamie Rogness.
Pocahontas County 4-H Robotics was named runner-up for the Innovative Programming Award. Team members are Caleb Ekstrand, Daniel Foster, Spencer Moon, Chase Pibal and Hunter Grace. The team is coached by Dean Ekstrand.
Block Stars, Dallas County, received the Mechanical Ingenuity Award. Team members are Dalaney Kidd, Shelby Jonson, Nathan Thompson, Ben Romig and Drew Storey. Michael Kidd coaches the team.
Early Achievers, Sac County, received the Creative Solution Award. Team members are Austin Goettsch, Kallie Goettsch, Beth Pickhinke, Jon Pickhinke, Katie Brinkman, Ben Kolbe and Kevin Steinkamp. Coaches are Steve Determan and Denise Pickhinke.
LEGOMedics, Polk County, was named runner-up for the Creative Solution Award. Team members are Zach Halter, Mathew Cernicky, Andrew Cernicky, Max Beh, Ben Means, Keirick Glennon, Henry DeAngelis and Jack Scholz. Coaches are Karen Halter and Meghan Glennon.
Coaches Ulrike Grimaldi and Cathy Vrentas of LEGO Robotic Builders, Polk County, received the Golden Clover Volunteer Award. Team members are Roman Grimaldi, Evalina Grimaldi, Ethan Tunney, Tala Davis, Aspen Davis, Owen Fischer and Logan Rafdal. The LEGO Robotic Builders also received the Creative Solutions Award.