AMES, Iowa – The SCI 4-H Club from Polk County claimed top honors at the Iowa 4-H Robotics Challenge at the Iowa State Fair. The team received the 4-H Engineer Award, for the highest combined score from the challenge’s two robot building events.
Each of the six participating youth teams received two challenges: building a robot using the LEGO Mindstorms© NXT platform and building a second robot using only the items in a “junk drawer,” explained Holly Bignall, with Iowa State University Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET). During the Aug. 15 challenge, the teams built their robots simultaneously in different areas of the 4-H Exhibits Building.
The SCI 4-H Club also received the NXT Challenge Award as the top scoring team in that event. In addition, the team received the Innovative Programming Award, because their NXT Challenge program was notable for innovation or elegance in producing the desired robot behavior. Team members are Ross Rumelhart, Caleb Meyer, Jackson West, Anthony Greene, Timothy Schwartz and Abraham Schwartz.
Master Builders of Winneshiek County received the Junk Drawer Challenge Award, as the top scoring team in that event. The team also received the Clover Award for their exemplary demonstration of 4-H values including teamwork, cooperation, generosity, responsibility, learning, working within space, time, and materials constraints, and showing respect for others. Team members are Logan Brincks, Lucas Brincks and Devin Franzen.
Stacy Ratashak and Brenda Gill, the coaches of A Double H Builders of Polk County, received the Golden Clover Volunteer Award for exemplary leadership by encouraging teamwork, providing appropriate but restrained guidance, allowing youth to engage in the engineering process and being an example of 4-H values. Team members are A.J. Gill, Brett Ratashak and Nick Jordan.
The St. Augustine School team from Polk County received the Engineering Elegance Award for their robot’s visual appeal. Team members are Gus Mote, Zach Kobes, Madeline Wisco, Bobby Bailey and Claire Cappaert.
Soli Deo Gloria of Marshall County received the Mechanical Ingenuity Award, because their Junk Drawer Challenge robot was notable for its out-of-the-box design solutions. Team members are David Blom, Daniel Blom, Matthew Battles and Annie Battles.
Mechanical Mindstormers of Calhoun and Sac counties received the Creative Solution Award, because their NXT robot demonstrated a remarkably creative solution to an engineering dilemma. Team members are Taylor Duncan, Bon Kolbe, Jon Pickhinke, Austin Goettsch, Olivia Hanlon, Tiffany Poen, Kennedy Stern and Jane Kipp.
The youth participating in the Iowa 4-H Robotics Challenge were ages 10 to 14, Bignall noted.
Kids can get involved in robotics with ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development throughout the year. For more information contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices/.
About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices/ or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4H.
Holly Bignall, Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET), 515-294-2078,
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-294-0775,