DOWNEY -- Stauffer Middle School's Spartan Design robotics team traveled to Tustin last Saturday to compete against 36 other robotics teams from around California.
The four teams competing from Stauffer brought home the Tournament of Champions award by taking first place and the Sportsmanship award. The victory qualified them to compete in the VEX State Championship and the U.S. Robotics Championship in April.
Similar to the last few robotics competitions attended by a variety of teams from Downey Unified, the goal of this tournament was for an alliance of two robots to work collaboratively to launch foam balls into nets located on the corners of a 12-by-12 ft. arena.
“I noticed a better preparedness for this tournament and more so, a methodical and calm demeanor when solving unexpected problems,” stated Zachary Nishino, a mechanical engineer who volunteers his time to mentor the Spartan Design robotics team. “But most importantly, the kids had fun competing. This is what I have appreciated most while working with the Stauffer Middle School robotics team. The kids already have a fascination with robotics, so watching them enjoy learning concepts of how to design a robot is very rewarding.
"Tri [Tansopalucks, Stauffer Middle School teacher] and the other mentors have done a great job in keeping the kids motivated and focused…. With these enthusiastic young minds and the devoted teachers to lead them, the future looks bright for engineering.”
In January, Stauffer Middle School’s Spartan Design robotics team sent students to the SkillsUSA Regional Competition, the first group of Downey Unified middle school students to ever compete in a SkillsUSA Competition. These students swept the competition, receiving gold, silver, and bronze medals in Mobile Robotics, Middle School Team Engineering Challenge, and Creed.
Classroom STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts are put to the test on the playing field as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, communications and more. Tournaments are held yearround at the regional, state, and national levels; local champions go on to compete against the best in the world at the VEX Robotics World Championship each April.