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Upward Bound Robotics Competition

Upward Bound Robotics Competition
Posted on 08/05/2019
Upward Bound Robotics Competition

The Upward Bound program runs at Peninsula College five days a week for five weeks during the summer. The program includes a tour of DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond and the UW campus in Seattle, as well as a visit to NatureBridge in the Olympic National Park.

Wayne Roberts, retired Coast Guard diver, created various apparatuses from parts he found at a local recycle/repurposing shop. Roberts served as the ROV instructor and master organizer of the mission.

“Local businesses have been very generous. When they heard about what I was building for the program, Around Again donated much of the materials,” said Roberts.

This is the first year the challenge combines VEX (robotics on land) and ROV (submerged vehicle) into one competition. This necessitated loads of cooperation among team members.

“It’s been exciting to see collaboration between VEX and ROV,” commented Christine Spaulding, VEX instructor. “It has opened up a whole new avenue of how robotics can be combined.

The classroom atmosphere at the competition was relaxed, and students felt nurtured, supported.

Younger students were among the observers. Fifth grader Kanyon Anderson and fourth grader Brett Manson, both Roosevelt Elementary students, were present and watched the high school competition with keen interest. A team challenge in the fall called The ROADS on Mars (Rover Observation and Drone Survey) will include students in grades 3 through 12.

“The ROADS to Mars is connected up with The Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSSP) and will use Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots and drones and is not connected to this event other than me advertising how the high school kids (and younger) can continue doing robotics since we don't have robotics at the high school yet,” explained Spaulding.

For more information about The ROADS on Mars, go to nwessp.org/mars or check back with the school district website as details are determined. For more information about Upward Bound, contact Sara Rinearson, Upward Bound program director, at 360.417.6376.

“It’s cool to see kids here,” continued Roberts. “They are more relaxed. It’s not about building robots, it’s about teaching the kids to have tools in their tool chest and see a project through. By having those experiences, those tools may help lead them to success later in life.”

Gunnar Thomason, formerly a third-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary, will be a STEM teacher within the Career Technical Education (CTE) Program at Stevens Middle School this fall. VEX robotics such as the ones used in this competition will be at Stevens in the fall for the first time.

Photos by Patsene Dashiell/Port Angeles School District:

Upward Bound PC Adrastea Team 036 - The Adrastea Team included (from left) Port Angeles High School students Julius Johnson, Brian Emmons, Kaylee Helgeson and Crescent High School student Stanley Mellott, all 10th graders.

Upward Bound PC Kanyon Anderson Brett Manson 027 - Fifth grader Kanyon Anderson and fourth grader Brett Manson (right), both Roosevelt Elementary students, watch the high school competition with keen interest. A team challenge in the fall called The Roads on Mars will include students in grades 3 through 12.

Upward Bound PC Annebell Waldron 040 - Instructor Gunnar Thomason takes a moment during a “down time” in the competition to view artistic work by Port Angeles High School senior Annebell Waldron.

Upward Bound PC Xoe Davis 018 - Port Angeles High School tenth grader Xoe Davis is an experienced pilot of the vex robot on the Io Team.

Upward Bound PC 047 - Upward Bound program coach Christine Spaulding offers a cupcake to volunteer extraordinaire Wayne Roberts.