Top Teams Named from 2013 Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa youth put their robotics skills to the test at the 2013 Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge Aug. 10-11 at the Iowa State Fair.  

Iowa youth showed their robot designing and programming skills in this “real-time” challenge, said Holly Bignall, 4-H youth program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The robotics challenge gives youth an opportunity to put the skills they have learned into a fun, exciting competition.

Robotics clubs and teams composed of three to 10 youth participated in this event. The teams competed the LEGO Mindstorms® NXT Challenge, where teams design, create, build and program a robot that could accomplish a specific goal outlined the day of the competition. The youth also built a robot using everyday materials from the “junk drawer” in the junk drawer challenge.

“The robotics challenge makes the youth draw from their leadership and teamwork skills,” said Bignall. With a time limit on the challenges, the youth had to focus, work as a team and brainstorm creative ideas.

Bratney Companies, the sponsor of the event, plans, builds, designs and provides equipment solutions and service for seed, feed, grain, food, bulk handling and biodiesel facilities around the world.

“The Bratney 4-H Robotics Challenge is an important event to Bratney Companies, and one we’re proud to sponsor. We view the support of STEM initiatives in programs such as 4-H as a great way to encourage Iowa’s best and brightest young minds,” said Peter Bratney, CEO of Bratney Companies. “Events like the Bratney 4-H Robotics Challenge provide opportunities to practice critical reasoning, teamwork and STEM knowledge in a fun, yet competitive environment. We look forward to remaining involved with the robotics challenge for years to come.”

The following awards were presented at the Aug. 10-11 event.

Senior Division

Pocahontas County Robotics received the NXT Challenge Award, given to the top scoring club in the LEGO Mindstorms® NXT Challenge Event championship. The club also received the Clover Award, given to the club notable for exemplary demonstration of 4-H values, the Engineering Elegance Award, given to the club whose robot is notable for its visual appeal, and the Innovative Programming Award, given to the club whose NXT Challenge Program is notable for its innovativeness or elegance in producing desired robot behavior.

Sci Tech 2, Muscatine County, received the 4-H Engineer Award, given to the top-scoring club when scores from semifinal rounds are combined. They also won the Junk Drawer Challenge Award and the Mechanical Ingenuity Award, given to the club whose robot is notable for its out-of-the-box design solutions appeal.

Sci Tech 1, Muscatine County, received the Creative Solution Award, given to the club whose robot demonstrates a remarkably creative solution to an engineering dilemma encountered.

4-H Sci Club (Sr), Polk County, was awarded the Golden Clover Volunteer award, given to the club that best demonstrates the 4-H values of teamwork, cooperation, generosity, responsibility, learning, working within space, time and materials constraints and showing respect for others. They were also runner up for the Creative Solution Award.

Additionally, MHS #2, Linn County, was runner up for the Innovative Programming Award, and MHS #1, Linn County, was runner up for the Engineering Elegance Award.

Junior Division

4-H Sci Club (Jr), Polk County, received the 4-H Engineering Award. The team also received the Golden Clover Volunteer Award and the Mechanical Ingenuity award

Warren County Robotics received the Innovative Programming Award and the NXT Challenge Award.

Lake Mills Bulldogs, Winnebago County, received the Junk Drawer Challenge Award. The club also was runner up in the Mechanical Ingenuity Award.

Lego Studs, Keokuk County, received the Clover Award. They also were runner-up in the Innovative Programming Award.

Hardin County 4-H received the Creative Solution Award.

Additionally, I.C.E., Hancock County was runner-up for the Engineering Elegance Award as well as the Creative Solution Award.