LEGO® robots programmed by high school students scurried around tabletops gathering plastic balls. Future programmers twisted their bodies and scrunched their faces as if contortions could change the robots’ computer-programmed instructions.
Grady McCrackin of Carson City-Crystal High School hid his face when his team’s robot cornered itself. What resembled a rider lawnmower had collected more balls in the undercarriage than their opponent, but with seconds left could not return to home base.
Plastic robots built out of the popular building block toy by 15 high school teams were competing in the Second Annual Alma College Robotics Challenge in Jones Auditorium, Tyler-Van Dusen Campus Center in April. Organized by Alma’s computer science faculty, the competition pitted programmed robots against each other in a timed competition.
The Challenge was won by the robot team of Devin Hotchkiss, Max Berman and advisor Betsy Lamb from Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills. Sam Scholtens, Erin Baragar and Corey McClain from Thornapple Kellogg High School in Middleville took second place.
Alma, Breckenridge, Carson City-Crystal, Montabella, St. Louis and Vestaburg high schools also competed.