Kilgore, Texas (Region 7) — Walton Wyoming Smith, Jr., better known as "Wy" to the Region 7 Gifted and Talented Robotics competitors, returns for the region's fourth and fifth grade students as they go head-to-head Friday in the Intermediate Fall Robotics Competition. Nearly 700 high school students on 177 teams from around the region competed in late October.
The event has a theme that is a spin-off of "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a similar story line for character Wy. In a meeting of the minds, Region 7 fourth and fifth graders will compete for trophies that can be earned based on how well the teams' robots are built and how well they can maneuver through a course that leads the robots through Yellowstone National Park. The destination, the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, can only be reached by those robots that can successfully navigate through the challenges of Mudpot Mire, Old Faithful, Tranquility Bear, Cold Deck and Cave Falls Peregrination. And, of course, successfully return home. Each stop along the track is task-specific and requires students to conduct research, including studying the real history of Yellowstone National Park.
The competition involves a variety of subject areas including language arts, technical writing, social studies, mathematics, science, history, developing main ideas, understanding and using advanced vocabulary, and more. Strategies requiring a working knowledge of speed, accuracy, light and objects are also involved in the competition. Students will be judged on engineering and design, stability, overall appearance, originality, component placement and cohesiveness, as well as on a journal they were required to keep on research and designs for the robots.
"The purpose of our Robotics Competition is to facilitate cross-curricular connections that help our students build higher level critical thinking skills and to show how robtics can be used across all areas," said Region 7 Gifted and Talented Education Specialist Donna Ashby. "The competition has grown so much that we had to move the fourth and fifth graders competition to a separate date, and we are looking forward to seeing how they compete this year."