Robotics Club/Tournament


Sophia Yee, Writer

Robotics club

Robotics, a place where students are allowed to be a part of a creative, prestigious team, and learn skills that can help them in their future. There are many different groups within Robotics, and each, a wonder to be in. Students from all across the school group together to form a sort of assembly line of teams to perfect robots to the best they could possibly be. There is design, coding, fabrication, and then finally there is assembly, all working in shifts interchangeably  (2-5 days a week) which could last anywhere from 1 hour to 5 or 7 hours, depending on how long the shop is open and how much time a student is willing to commit to Bear Metal. 

Design is a group of people working together who try to find the best method and structure to use on the robot. Basically, design out where the different parts of the robot should be, and what mechanisms should be implemented to have the most advantages for the given tournament. They are working for the entire season, often needing to put in a lot more work, in order to pump out different prototypes and designs for the other groups. Coding will take some of those plans, and start working on the code for the robot, while fabrication, similar to coding, work together to fabricate and build the pieces of the robot in order to ready them for the assembly group. Then the assembly group will piece together the actual robot, each taking around 2 to 3 weeks to complete their work aside from the design and coding groups which are again, usually working throughout the entire 4 month season. 

Additional to the design, coding, fabrication, and assembly groups. There are also groups who work on the team itself. These groups are called media, business, and more. Media, as the group title states, works with the Robotics team socials, often interviewing different people from the different groups within Robotics. Whereas business works on getting Robotics their variety of sponsors. Business is very important to Robotics due to the fact that Robotics requires a ton of expensive equipment. 

But, then again, all of the different groups are just as important. Without one of the groups, the rest would fall apart. “Each group is equally important, because like I said if you remove any of them, the rest are all screwed.” As stated by Eleanor Askew. Without design, fabrication and assembly don’t know where to go, or even where to start. Without fabrication, although there are plans for the robot there aren’t the pieces to make it, and so on. 


Wilsonville Robotics Tournament 

During around the 9th to 11th of March, the Tahoma Robotics team made their way to Oregon in order to compete in a tournament. This tournament was two days long, and went from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Yet, the amount of time commitment that was put into the tournament isn’t only during the event. Usually the shifts that different people take would be around 3 hours long depending on what group they are in, but due to the tournament, their hours would extend for far longer. An example of this would be how the people who practiced driving would be in the training house by the far field for hours on end. The sun would be up when they started, and the sun would be down when they left. 

Additionally, they have different roles, aside from what they would do in the school shop. Instead of their regular roles, they also might have roles such as; a co-scouting lead who will take notes on the various robots that they were competing against, in order to scout out the best teams to select when picking an alliance partner.  Or, a human player whose job is to place pieces onto the play field. 

Every round there were 2 alliances who would face off against each other. Each alliance is formed with 3 teams which means that they have 3 robots collaborating to achieve a common goal- to win the match and get the most ranking points. There are 58 qualification matches and each team plays around 12 matches, whoever has the most ranking points, earned by winning matches will get to be in the top 8. The top 8 teams would have the chance to be alliance captains, typically choosing the teams that are ranked right underneath them. But, if a team loses enough, you will be bumped down to something called a “lower bracket”. The lower bracket’s job is to help give teams a second chance, by facing them off against other teams that are equally matched. 

Our astounding Bear Metal team was able to make it into 3rd place in the competition, and 15th place in the entire district, which is a big deal considering the huge number of teams that competed in the Wilsonville Tournament. That’s 15th place out of the 153 teams they were faced up against. They worked their hardest, worked together, and it paid off tremendously. Go Bears!


Should you join Robotics?

Yes, you definitely should. Although Bear Metal might not be everyone’s “thing”, giving it a shot is a must. There are many, many, different roles someone can take on inside of the different groups that are in Robotics, meaning there is most likely something for everyone to enjoy. Not only that, but the entire environment in Bear Metal is very welcoming. Everyone there is patient and hardworking, and with everyone putting such a commitment to one thing that they collectively enjoy, making long lasting friendships is a bonus. 

If you’re not entirely sure that Bear Metal is for you, there are summer programs, and off season events that you can enroll in first to try out the waters. For Eden Mccaffery, one of these off season events is what got them into Robotics in the first place. “They did an off season event called girls generation that they do at the start of every year, and that just made me fall in love with robotics, I did not look back after that.” 


If you want to learn more about Bear Metal, a good article to read as well is “Bear Metal, More Than a Robot”, written by Kira Corona on Tahoma News.