The Children's House Junior High Robotics Club participated in the 2022 VEX World Championships!
The Junior High sent two robotics teams to the VEX World Championship in Dallas, Texas. In their division, they directly communicated with and competed against teams from 14 different countries and 25 different US states. Overall, there were 800 teams from over 40 countries and almost every US state. The students had to overcome language and cultural barriers in order to strategize with their partner teams. We did not receive any trophies, but our teams performed extremely well, worked together great, had fun, and even got to volunteer on the last day. This event was an incredible opportunity for the students to experience the tech industry and competition on the global stage.
Over the weekend teams, 24146A and 24146B got on a plane and traveled down to Dallas, TX for the Vex IQ middle school world championships. Over the course of three days, these teams played ten matches with people from all over the world. They played with teams from places like Ecuador, Paraguay, Azerbaijan, Germany, etc. They were separated into ten divisions The Karens (Miles Kirkwood, Emma Wakeham, Xoa Thelen, Ava Bachmann, Arthur Lijewski-Lee) were in the Design division and The Scorpions (Lilah Gray, Tyler Tasch, Kade Treadway, Evan Boss, Abbey Terfehr) were in the Spirit division. The Design division consisted of 78 teams and the Spirit division consisted of 79 teams. The Karens placed 70 and The Scorpions placed 46. This was an amazing robotics season for all our TCH Teams, and we can't wait for next year!! Until then TCH Robotics out!
-Lilah Gray, Team Captain
The Children’s House Robotics has been invited to compete in the 2022 World Championship!
By Ryan Adams
March 4, 2022
In the third season of our robotics program we decided to start practices in July instead of September in order to have more time to test designs and ideas, as well as to get familiar with the game and strategy options before our first tournament. We also started early so we had time to plan and prepare for hosting our first ever robotics tournament at the school. We called it the Tournament of Cherries, and the winner, on top of the robotics trophy, also won the student designed Cherry Cup made out of robotics parts. It was a successful event and even though our teams didn’t perform as well as they hoped, it gave them an opportunity to see other design concepts and learn where they need to improve. The biggest takeaway was the team needed to improve knowledge of specific rules and they needed to work on their communication skills with each other and with the other teams. They memorized every rule in the 40 page rulebook and made laminated print outs of the competition board to discuss strategy with their partner teams. The drivers also spent hours practicing coaching each other while the other drove. Lastly, we reached out and hosted joint practices with other local teams so we and the region as a whole could improve.
Moving forward with these changes, they became unstoppable. Our IQ and V5 teams traveled all over the state on what felt like every Saturday to go on and win 1st place in four tournaments, 2nd place in three tournaments, win two Judges Awards, one Amaze Award, and one Excellence Award. Our two IQ teams were ranked #1 and #2 in the State for over two months straight. At that same time we were in the top 50 in the country and top 100 in the world. It was completely unprecedented for a northern Michigan team to go downstate and dominate; especially on a consistent basis. Almost all the tournaments downstate had over 30 teams competing so winning was not an easy feat. Ironically, the only tournament that we didn’t win a trophy at was at the tournament we hosted.
Our success attracted national attention, as our teams received an invitation to the Robotics US Open in Iowa, which is run by a separate robotics organization who sends out 100 invitations around the world to teams once a year to gather, compete, celebrate, and network. Shortly after this invitation, NASA reached out to us and asked if they could sponsor us (we obviously said yes).
This past weekend was our IQ team’s State Championship in Grandville. The CEO of the REC (Robotics Education and Competition) Foundation attended the event due to Michigan’s prevalence in the international rankings. The Mayor of Grandville, CEO of Meijer, and others were also in attendance. We won the Create Award which earned us an invitation to the World Championship in Dallas in May. Teams from dozens of countries will be there, and we are currently working on fundraising efforts.
Our V5 program, who has been competing with and against middle & high schools this season, will be competing in their State Championship this Saturday in Monroe, Michigan. They earned their invitation into States at the GTACS tournament by winning the Excellence Award- the highest award given in robotics. This was the first time any of our teams across all programs had ever won the Excellence Award (it is kind of a big deal).
The students have worked incredibly hard, overcome many challenges, and have accomplished things I never thought possible in only the third year of the program’s existence. I am truly in awe of their dedication, teamwork, and perseverance day after day.
The Children’s House Robotics Teams to Compete in World Championship
April 6, 2021
“Following strong performances at the regional Benzie Tournament and state-level competition in Monroe, Michigan, two Junior High teams from The Children’s House (Ava Bachmann, Ian Boss, Brogan Danbrook, Arthur Lijewski-Lee, Isley Moshier, Eli Petty, Luca Santoro, and Daschal Schiller) qualified for the Vex Robotics State and World Championships.
“The competitions draw on a wide range of skills, from designing and building the robot to programming and coding the software that allows them to operate their robot interactively and autonomously. Each year, the competition features a new game that challenges students to engineer new solutions and strategies.”
“All of our students learned the importance of patience, perseverance, and supporting one another,” said Ryan Adams who advises the robotics program and also serves as the junior high math teacher at The Children’s House. “They experienced both what it feels like to fail after months of hard work and what it feels like to win after months of hard work.”
The success is notable because it is just the second year in which the school has actively competed. The program was granted seed money in 2019 from the Karen Circle (an auxiliary group that carries on the legacy of Dr. Karen Gilhooly at The Children’s House) to purchase the robotics kits and cover initial registration fees. In 2020, the program received a critical boost in the form of a grant from the Department of Education, which helped cover registration fees, tournament and some equipment costs, and training resources.
While four teams chose to compete this school year, all Children’s House Junior High learners participated in an immersive eight-week, in-school robotics workshop. This workshop was supported by a two-week robotics training delivered by Quarkmine, a local STEM support organization specializing in the VEX VRC platform.
The VEX Robotics Competition is presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation (REC), which is committed to increasing student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through hands-on robotic engineering experiences. Their middle and high school robotics programs include more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries playing in over 1,700 competitions worldwide.
Like many school activities this year, the program and competitions have been disrupted by the pandemic, but the organization and students have persevered and adapted with the ingenuity one would expect. The world championships will be held remotely from May 17-22.
“I am incredibly proud of each student on the team and in awe of their ability to overcome the pressure they faced,” said Adams. “I never would have imagined our students could make it so far in just our second year and in such challenging circumstances.”