Next week, the Killdeer Robotics team will compete in their biggest competition of the year in Fargo against several other teams across the northern United States.
By Zak Wellerman
When competing at the local level against teams from North Dakota and Minnesota, the team received fifth place out of 16 teams.
Robotics team Chief Executive Officer Garrett Calkins said he and his team are ready for the competition.
“I feel kind of nervous but also excited. This year, we’ve really kicked up our game to get those top four teams,” Calkins said.
In a robotics competition, students work together to create a robot with a specific theme in mind. They also model their work after a company and have to complete the marketing and sales, graphic design, logging the work put into the robot and computer programming aspects of the project.
Being on the Robotics team takes hard work and motivation, and it also builds skills for the future science, technology, engineering and math fields for students to pursue.
“It takes some effort and dedication because they’ve got to learn what they have to do and acquire the skills to do it,” Killdeer Robotics adviser Jeff West said. “Whatever your skill set, there’s a spot for you. For students who are going into the science and engineering, it gives them a chance to do it on a real level instead of tinkering in your garage.”
This year’s theme is firefighting and the students had to build their robot to save mannequin from a simulated fire, remove three chemical drums into a special container, put out the simulated fire and fit in the two-by-two-by-two-feet cube. In this situation, the fire is a stack of plastic cups and the water used to put out the fire is ping pong balls, West said.
Calkins, who joined the team after his brother graduated to help add to the team, became leader since he enjoys watching newcomers improve their skills and hard work.
“I like being the leader because I get to work with the younger kids. I love watching kids improve when it comes to this,” Calkins said. “You have to be really dedicated and robotics is really fun”
Brendon Gibson, the chief financial officer of the team, added being in Robotics takes time management and team collaboration to succeed.
“You have to be really time sufficient and know what you need to do that day. Time is the big thing,” Gibson said. “We work hard as a team and we’re going to finish as a team. It gives you a wide variety of what you want to do. You have to collaborate with your teammates. I think everyone enjoys it and I enjoy my time too.”