Brownwood Robotics Students Celebrate Competition Successes and Build upon their Legacy in 2023
Article by: Sara Musgrove
Brownwood Robotics students learned the art and skill of competing in a new realm of engineering and automation during the 2022-23 school year. “Our students competed at the TCEA North Texas Robotics Contest in Keene, Texas, on Saturday, April 1st,” said Amber Shipman, one of the two robotics team mentors. “In the Intermediate Division, fourth grade through eighth grade, our boys’ team placed second. Our returning members, both our current sixth graders and fifth graders, grew so much this year as leaders. Roman Delgado and Rylan Martin were both fifth graders last year, who took charge in helping this year's newer students understand what robotics is about. They demonstrated confidence and guidance in trying times when all did not go as planned.”
TCEA North Texas Robotics Contest teams:
The Smooth Criminals:
Kinsler Doremus (5th grade, Woodland Heights)
Leeland Hamilton (5th grade, Woodland Heights)
Diego Villanueva Cantu (5th grade, Coggin Elementary)
Damion Padron (3rd grade, Woodland Heights)
The girls’ team, Wolf Pack, made it to the finals but were eliminated during the first round.
Wolf Pack team:
Rylee Coulter (3rd grade, Coggin)
Kenley Land (4th grade, Coggin)
Akira Tobias (4th grade, Coggin)
Robotics competitions require quick thinking and problem-solving in a pinch. Each competition includes a unique ‘prompt’ the team must be able to build their robot to accomplish, and often students are paired in tandem with students from other schools to complete the objective. “All of our teams competed earlier this semester at TCEA Region 15 Competition and at the San Angelo Stockshow & Rodeo,” Shipman said. “At TCEA Region 15 our teams did not place or make finals, but they did learn quite a bit in order to be more competitive for the next competition. At the San Angelo Stockshow & Rodeo, three of our five teams made the finals, but got eliminated in the first round.”
The five teams for those two competitions were:
Damion Padron (3rd grade, Woodland Heights)
Carter Spruill (4th, East)
Rylee Coulter (3rd, Coggin)
Kenley Land (4th, Coggin)
Akira Tobias (4th, Coggin)
Leeland Hamilton (5th, Woodland Heights)
Diego Villanueva Cantu (5th, Coggin)
Leverett Windham (5th, Woodland Heights)
Team Big Brain:
Roman Delgado (6th, Coggin)
Rylan Martin (6th, Coggin)
Emory Arias (6th, Coggin)
Kinlser Doremus (5th, Woodland Heights)
Fritz Stegemoller (5th, Woodland Heights)
“Diego Villanueva was on a team last year as a fourth grader,” Shipman said. “He took some of our younger third graders under his wing. At competitions, Diego was seen helping Team Bigy with communication skills when Bigy advanced but Diego’s Team, Levinators, did not. Kinsler Doremus was also a returning fourth-grade member. His team faced ups and downs this year. After being messed with by not-robotics students the day before the competition, his robot at the San Angelo Stockshow did not want to communicate to his computer or the controller to drive the robot in the second part of the competition. Kinsler had to overcome this obstacle before the April first completion in Keene, Texas. Not all of our teams wanted to compete in the Saturday completion, so we built two teams out of those who did want to compete. Kinsler headed up our second team comprised of Kinsler, Damion, Diego, and Leeland. Our robotics students faced every challenge brought to them head-on this year. They were willing to learn new ways of driving their robots, via XBOX controller instead using the mouse and computer.” These young students learned the art of communication skills between teammates and with the robot with which they are competing. Students must think critically in order to perform well under pressure.
“This year’s problem set the TCEA gave us seemed daunting and overwhelming at first, but these teams proved that no task was too big,” Shipman said. “They went to competitions knowing that their sole purpose was to learn, not to win, and they took that information back to home to rebuild, reprogram, and revamp ready to be fierce competitors at the next competition.” The team has been in a constant state of learning since the school year began. They received two new Lego Spike Prime robot kits and have since purchased additional robot kits in order to remain competitive among constantly advancing technology and equipment.
“Students in robotics benefit from problem-solving, mathematical skills, and cooperative learning,” Shipman said. “Students learn healthy ways of overcoming frustration; they learn perseverance, communication, and most of all they have fun doing it. They have to be dedicated, dependable, and disciplined. I can’t wait to see what TCEA has in store for us next year!
Above: Brownwood Robotics teams competed at the TCEA North Texas Robotics Contest in Keene, Texas, on Saturday, April 1st.