Bandon Robotics

Guest Contributor: Martha Kemple

“It was clear that resources did not decide who won, because you had robots made out of entirely custom made parts competing with Frankenstein’s-monster-style robots, held together with duct-tape and crossed fingers, and they stay neck-and-neck for most of the tournament.”

– Max, Bandon H.S. junior and assistant team captain

FIRST Tech Competitions

Both of Bandon High’s Robotics Teams participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifying Tournament at OSU on Saturday, February 7.  During the morning, the students had to take their robot through three inspections: software, robot design, and field connections (making sure the robot and software were properly set up to connect to the tournament computer system). Teams also participated in two interviews: one a formal interview in a quiet room with a panel of judges who asked about how the robot was designed and built, driving, game strategy, the Engineering Notebook (each team had to put together a notebook describing their design processes), community service, outreach, and fund raising. The second interview was an informal one in the “pit” area–the room in which each team has a table to work on their robot, make any changes to the programming code, and hang out.

DSC_0015In the afternoon, the teams participated in 5 of 30 matches, and their scores were tallied.  Team 8124 was in first place at the end of 30 matches, and 9130 was in 11th place.  Team 8124 and the next top three teams each chose two teams for their “Alliances,” and then entered the elimination round.  Team 8124 chose the 4-H team from Sutherlin and the other Bandon team, 9130, as their Alliance.  They prevailed over the 4th place team in the elimination rounds, and proceeded to the championship!  Their Alliance came in second overall, thereby earning them the opportunity to compete at the FIRST Tech Challenge Super Qualifiers the weekend of February 21.

We traveled up to Hillsboro (that’s a LONG 5+ hour drive in a school bus—but I’m very glad I didn’t have to drive!) and participated in the competition there. The teams made improvements to their robots and code, and the robots performed better than they had at the Qualifying Tournament, but the competition was a lot stiffer. We had fun, though, and we gained lots of ideas that we can pull from for next year.

Bandon High School Robotics would like to thank the Oregon Coast STEM Hub for paying for the food for our two FTC Tournament trips.

Robotics Class at Bandon High School

DSC_0030The Robotics class is in its second year at Bandon High School. During the fall term, students spend some time learning RobotC, and then design, build, and program robots with the goal of competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge.  During the spring, after the FTC competition season has ended, the class switches gears towards underwater robotics, and works to develop a submersible ROV (an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle) with the goal of participating in the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition, which this year will be held on April 25 at the North Bend Community Pool.

Each of these competitions has a specific list of criteria for the robot and the tasks it must perform, so the students design and build their robots with those goals in mind.  This class is very hands on and really focuses on teamwork, as students are working on a variety of different things in order to get the robot to work. Some may be programming, some may be keeping track of details and making sure everyone knows the competition rules, some may be designing and building the robot, and some may be building the different items needed for the robot to practice the skills required for the tournament.

What Do the Students Think?

The FTC is a lot of fun because it celebrates creative problem solving. This year we had the pleasure of going to sub-state qualifiers, and the thing I enjoyed most is seeing how different everyone’s robot was from each other.

                  Our own robot was very simple compared to so many other robots, yet it took us through our first tournament because it was decently built around a good idea. There are so many different ways to score, no two robots will ever focus on the same thing, so every team you partner with brings new ideas to the table, and you have something to strive toward for next year.

                  I enjoy participating in the FTC because it centers heavily around creativity and teamwork, and everyone’s ideas are represented, showing how we all think differently while also showing everyone has something to contribute.

– Max, Bandon H.S. junior and assistant team captain

My experience on the trips to compete at the FTC competition was very rewarding, because not only did I get to compete the FTC qualifiers and the super qualifiers with my fellow team mates in a very creative ways. I got to go to the OSU wave lab, and not only that but the OSU robotics club showed us the many ways robots can be used. This opened up many new areas of careers and innovating ways to build robots. This makes the path to approaching my future not only more bright but fun and exciting.

– John, Bandon H.S. junior and lead builder

This was my first year in robotics, and I really enjoyed it. The competition was great. I had a lot of fun driving the robot. I also had a lot of fun keeping log of what we did every day. The FTC experience was extensively different then all the other classes I have been in. The FTC robotics class was much more free-form and based on the goals of the student. In the robotics class the speed is geared on the student. The faster the student goes the more the robot advances and grows.

                  The FTC experience was great and I enjoyed every second of it. Whether I was driving, keeping logs of daily activity, or trying not to pull my hair out I was always having fun.  

– Jack, Bandon H.S. sophomore in charge of engineering notebook




Martha Kemple teaches Robotics, Computer Applications, and Digital Photography at Bandon High School, and is Advisor for the Yearbook and the Robotics teams participating in FIRST Tech Challenge and the MATE ROV Competition.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Portland State University and worked for the Bonneville Power Administration in various computer-related positions before earning a Master of Arts in Teaching from George Fox University. She has taught everything from second grade through college students.

Ms. Kemple will be bringing two teams to the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition in April.  Team “West Coast Robotics, Inc.” will compete in the SCOUT class, and “Wieland’s Shipyard” will compete in the NAVIGATOR class.

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