Aurora, Neb. – The invasion will arrive this coming Saturday: 24 robots, 100 competitors, and 102 bean bags. Bean bags?
Yes, bean bags. And it’s all part of an ingenious competition spurred by technology and teamwork with advancement opportunities to the national and world levels of competition.
The invasion will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Aurora Middle School during the Aurora Robotic Huskies VEX Tournament, hosted by Aurora Middle School and Nebraska Public Power District. The event is a world-qualifying competition for VEX robotics tournaments with 24 teams representing 10 schools from Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas competing.
Participating Nebraska schools scheduled to compete include Holdrege, Omaha North, Omaha Gross, Chase County, Cross County, Aurora Middle School, Ravenna, and Columbus, plus teams from Topeka, Kan., and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
VEX Sack Attack is played on a 12 foot by 12 foot square field. Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of two teams each including robot, compete in matches to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by scoring with the bean bags through various goals, and by having the team with the most robots parked at the end of the match.
“In addition to just having a great time and building amazing robots, this program helps students learn and understand the engineering, technical and programming skills needed in building a robot, plus develop teamwork skills, leadership and sportsmanship,” explained NPPD Outreach Programs Specialist Kim Liebig.
While participating in the VEX Sack Attack season, teams develop new skills in response to the challenges and obstacles that stand before them. Some problems will be solved by individuals, while others will be handled through interaction with their student teammates and adult mentors.
Leading up to the VEX season, which began earlier in the school year, teams first worked together to build a VEX robot to compete in one of many tournaments like the one being staged in Aurora. After the season is completed later this spring, students come away not only with the accomplishment of building their own competition robot, but also with an appreciation of science and technology and how they positively impact the world around them. In addition, they cultivate life skills such as planning, brainstorming, collaboration, teamwork, and leadership as well as research and technical skills.
Competing teams Saturday will be attempting to qualify for the U.S. National VEX Robotics Championship to be held in Ralston, Neb., March 7-9 at the Ralston Sports and Event Center, and for the VEX Robotics World Competition to be held in Anaheim, Calif., April 17-20. For the Aurora competition, awards will be given to teams for various categories that include the tournament champion, tournament finalist, and special awards for excellence, sportsmanship, and design.