Facing tough competition from metropolitan and suburban robotic teams, Lab:Revolution grade schoolers from the Mineral Area provided an impressive lineup of robots that captured significant attention and prizes from judges in St. Louis. The competition, 4-H DOLFIN VEX IQ CHALLENGE 2017, was held at the Ranken Technical College. For Lab:Revolution Director, Ann Boes, the prizes were a hard won reward following weeks of planning, rehearsals and technical challenges.

“The students did a wonderful job showing off their understanding of the engineering design process to the judges,” she said.

Lab:Revolution students represented three elementary and one middle school teams. They faced intense competition from other schools on the performance of their robots and team performance in the field. Judges also did individual evaluations on how proficient each team was in their project, based on personal interviews and observations. The teams were evaluated on Teamwork Challenges, Robot skills as well as autonomous programs.

Scoring during the Challenge ended up being very close - only 1.6 points separated high and low average scores in the Elementary Division. The top average score for an Elementary team was earned by LAB: Revolution’s Annihilating Vipers Team.

Top scores for a Single Elementary Challenge was captured by two Lab:Revolution teams, Annihilating Vipers and Robot Warriors. The most consistent score on the field throughout the day was also captured by the Robot Prototypes and Annihilating Vipers. The Vipers also achieved the top score in Elementary Robot Skills, including an impressive autonomous run for an additional 20 points.

Annihilating Vipers team members included: Dulaj Dayaratna ,age 7; Henry Swinarski, age 8; Gus Brockland, age 8; and Alexis Cassimatis, age 8. Robo Prototypes included Mason Strege, age 10; Aiden Pigg, age 10; and Eli Glore, age 9. Robot Warriors included Tucker Reed, age 8; Lane Busenbark, age 10; Justin Doss, age 9; and Cooper Culton, age 8.

In the Middle School Division, consistency in performance paid off during qualifying matches. Lab: Revolution’s Team KAPUTIN placed third overall in ranking. An exciting push in the finals gave the team a second place overall for the day in the Teamwork Challenge.

“The hardest part of the competition was the autonomous skills challenge, because it was the first challenge of the day and it took many tries,” team member Pooja Dayaratna said. KAPUTIN also placed high in the skills events, which gave them an extra 20 point bonus.

Perseverance paid off for the Middle School team, which finished in the top 3 in their division. Team members of KAPUTIN included Pooja Dayaratna, age 10; Noah Towles, age 11; Alton Medlin, age 12; and Kolt Cain, age 12.

To celebrate the students impressive performance, Lab:Revolution hosted a holiday showcase on the third floor of The Factory on First Street in Farmington , on Nov. 29.

In coming weeks the students will be preparing for other competitions, including the 7th Annual Robot & Techology Expo at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, March 17.

LAB: Revolution, the 4-H Technology Playground and Makerspace is a Learning and exploratory center where young people and students can explore Robotics, programming, and other hands on projects.

LAB:Revolution is part of St. Francois Co. 4-H, sponsored by University of Missouri Extension. For more information, call 327-2009, or visit www.labrevo.org.

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