UES is so happy for opportunities to support STEM education and inspire students like FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics team PowerStackers. We were thrilled to have the team of middle and high school students come to UES last Wednesday, July 25, and share their favorite parts of the experience, from the engineering design process, to the strategic programming, to the fun friendships and the valuable connections, to the community outreach and mentorship.
PowerStackers represented Dayton and Cincinnati extraordinarily well last season, placing 4th overall in the 2017/2018 world competition. They were also the only team at the world competition this year to successfully stack six cubes with their autonomous robot, setting the 9th highest record for that task of all time.
PowerStackers credits this phenomenal success to more than one hundred hours spent brainstorming, prototyping, revising, testing, building, and programming their robot, adding that "failure is important." They talked about the value of learning from mistakes, showing a video of their robot in earlier competitions, which spun in circles, knocking the cubes over instead of stacking them. Recognizing their first attempt at programming the robot made it far too complex and less reliable, they started coding all over again, this time working to keep their code as simple as possible and slowly adding in the more complex parts. The results? An efficient, impressive, competitive, record-breaking robot that stood out from the crowd at the World Competition.
The FTC competition is about more than the robot's performance, however. These STEM students must also practice typical engineering principles, like keeping an engineering notebook. PowerStackers also excelled in this area, winning the Think Award, which recognizes the team's engineering and design process.
PowerStackers continues to show demonstrate a commitment to their community and to sparking an interest in STEM through outreach, getting kids excited about robotics and mentoring younger FIRST students.
After the presentation, PowerStackers demonstrated some of what they have been working on since the competition and presented UES President Nina Joshi with a plaque to show their appreciation for the support and sponsorship.
We can't wait to see what this team will achieve next year!