Ping Pong Ball-Throwing Robots Get Put to the Test at Fourth Annual Competition

Nearly 10 years ago, Green Dot Public Schools’ robotics program was an idea in the mind of Green Dot teacher, Andrew Osterhaus. Today, students throughout the Green Dot network are learning how to meet the challenges of the future by building their own robots and testing the limits of their mechanical creations.

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To close out the school year, over 300 students gathered at Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School for the fourth annual Green Dot Robotics Competition led by science teachers Stephen Skoropad and Tom Rice.

Robots

At this year’s competition, high school participants competed to see whose pre-programmed, autonomous robot could throw the most ping pong balls in the other’s goal in a series of matches.

Robots

Students spend the semester creating and testing their robots to ensure they are ready to faceoff against the competition. “We immediately felt the excitement in the room, but when we saw some of the other team’s robots we thought, ‘Wow, we’re gonna lose,’” said David Peralta, a senior at Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy. They quickly began to test their robot, and to the team’s surprise, they won their first round!

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This fearsome competition brings out educators and staff throughout the Green Dot network. "I'm excited to be a judge today, I'm really curious to see what our students have put together and how they're going to refine their process after each round," said Rachel Provost, Green Dot Knowledge Management Analyst. "It's impressive that our students know how to make these uniquely designed robots move, follow directions, and react to situations."

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“At Green Dot, our robotics program isn’t entirely about teaching science. It’s focused on having all students fully participate, so they’re learning how to problem solve, how to effectively collaborate and how to work through failure,” said Osterhaus.

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Though Ánimo Inglewood won first place, all the teams walked away victorious. Every team took on a common problem that had infinite solutions and worked through failure to find a unique resolution that best served their team.

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