Excitement and nervousness were running high Sunday as the Whitko Middle School Robotic Cats faced off against the Maple Creek Middle School Robo Cats.
The task at hand: to see which teams Lego-enhanced robot could best conquer an obstacle course inside the Indiana Tech gym.
Its like, Oh my gosh. Is all the time weve put into this going to be worth it? Cecilia White, 13, said just before the competition. Go Robotic Cats!
After a judge warned the players to keep calm, the competition began, and teams watched as their robots lurched forward and back, moving plastic trucks, fish, mini pizzas and other items through the course.
Although the Robotic Cats robot fared well, meeting most of its objectives, the Robo Cats robot malfunctioned right in the middle of the competition, costing precious seconds.
We didnt do so great, said Isaac Peterson, 12. A piece fell off. But I think it was operator error as well. Were going to need to practice more.
The teams were among 36 in the annual First Lego League Qualifying Competition on Sunday. The event, sponsored by Indiana Tech and Science Central, drew about 500 people.
Winning teams from Sundays event will participate in the state competition at IPFW in December, according to Science Central Education Director Jenny Young.
Were trying to encourage kids to use their science, technology, engineering and math skills, she said. Theyre interfacing with real engineers, who judge the competition.
The First Lego League Competition is open to students ages 8 through 14, who can either join school or community teams, Young said. In addition to being judged by their robots effectiveness, teams are also judged on their teamwork skills and other criteria.
Students said they spent hours inside and outside of class preparing for the competition. Once they learned how to program their robot, known as NXT, they used Legos to give them arms, levers and other tools.
Sometimes we have problems working together, but it all works out in the end, said Robotic Cats team leader Hannah Bredikhin. Were all really dedicated and we have a lot of fun.