As the WLMS Robotics team, Titanium Trojans, heads to compete at Michigan’s State Championships over the next two days, we had a chance to learn more about the team, this season, and robotics in general with one of the Titanium Trojans’ mentors, Adam Muller.
Come learn about robotics at WLPS for yourself next month. The WLPS Robotics Open House for grades K-12 will be on Thursday, January 6 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at our Main Street campus in room C130 (enter the doors on the north side at the back of the building by the Middle School gym and head down to the end of the hallway). Masks and social distancing is required. Grades K-3 will learn about the TroBits and TroBits Too. Grades 4-5 can meet the TroBytes. Grades 6-8 will see what the Titanium Trojans are all about. And students in grades 9-12 can learn more about our high school team, the TroBots.
Q: Who are all the coaches/mentors?
Adam Muller (AM):
- Natalie Jewell Coach
- Adam Muller Mentor Documentation / Mechanical
- David Fanson Mentor Mechanical
- Matt Goodrich Mentor Programming
- Jacob Goodrich Youth Mentor Mechanical (Jacob is also the captain of the High School robotics team the TroBots)
- Tim Abla Mentor Programing
- Brian Kurtz Mentor Mechanical
Q: What has been your favorite part of this season thus far?
AM: This season we joined the Michigan South Central Robotics League. This added a scrimmage and three league meets to our schedule thus giving the kids a lot more competition time. It’s been really fun as a mentor watching the kids grow with the additional competition time. It has been challenging but rewarding for the kids and our program.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most about the state championship?
AM: We have a very competitive team and a good robot this year. The state championship should give us an opportunity to see how it performs at an event with so many excellent teams. It will be a test of our robot’s ability, our team’s strategic play abilities, our drive teams, and our endurance.
Q: What is the challenge?
AM: Executing our game plan, while not breaking the robot, and working with our assigned alliance partner in each match. During the qualifying matches partners are assigned and not chosen. Any given match we could have a partner who has a very capable robot or one who does not. The teams need to work together to win each match.
Q: What is the biggest benefit of students participating in robotics K-12?
AM: The FIRST Robotics k-12 program is broken into four levels and Whitmore Lake Robotics supports teams for all of them. Each level meets the kids wherever they are at and combines fun with discovering and learning STEM skills and concepts in a team setting. At the FIRST Tech Challenge level (Middle School) the kids are using STEM skills to design, build, program and strategically compete with a robot. However, the highest award at each tournament is for the team who not only documents their process, why and how they designed and built their robot, but also is actively supporting STEM programs in their community. As a result, the kids need almost every skill they are taught in order to compete.
- They draw sketches of their ideas to communicate with their teammates and document their ideas.
- They write an Engineering journal to track their progressions and an Engineering Portfolio on which they are judged.
- They present their robot, engineering process, and program to a panel of judges at each tournament.
- They use math and science to develop the programs necessary to run the robot in competition.
- They use math and engineering to design and build the physical robot.
- They need to have the endurance for the 12 hour tournament days.
- They need to work as a team and work with other teams to successfully compete.
- They need to work with the community both to gain its support and support it.
- The kids in robotics almost all have other activities and school work. They have to manage their time to be successful in all.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
AM: We thank the Whitmore Lake schools for their continuing support. Our planned meeting location for First Lego League (K-5) needed to change just before the season started and Whitmore Lake Elementary School stepped up with a place to meet and a willingness to store our competition field. This made the season possible. We would not have the middle school or high school teams without the robotics lab provided by the schools.