New robot unveiledPublished 7:00am Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Team CHAOS unveiled its new robot on Saturday to an enthusiastic crowd of parents and supporters at its open house in the FEMA safe room on the Picayune Memorial High School campus.
The new robot scores points by throwing a medicine ball through a goal and by tossing it over a girder where it is caught by another robot belonging to another team and tossed back.
CHAOS is also known as team 1421 in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology competition. CHAOS begins the FIRST competition season in Orlando, Fla., in March and then moves on to the Bayou Regional at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, La., in April. The team advanced to international competition last year.
Each year the team concentrates primarily on one task the robot must accomplish in seeking a way to score as many points as possible in the competition, said Maureen Pollitz, team mentor and faculty adviser. Pollitz teaches at Nicholson Elementary School in the Picayune school district.
This year, the team concentrated on throwing the ball through the goal, she said.
Pollitz also pointed out that the robotics team, which began as a team representing only the Picayune School District, now includes students from Pearl River Central High School in the Pearl River County School District and home school students.
“We really represent the whole county now,” Pollitz said.
“The program is not what do with the robot, but what the students take away from it,” Scott Olive said. Olive has been an adult mentor with the program since the beginning in 2002.
He said what the students learn, including team work and networking, will go on with them regardless of what career they may pursue later in life.
“We do hope some will go into science and engineering,” he said.
The success this year and in previous years is attributable to the support the community has shown for it, he said.
“It’s been the support of the community,” Olive said.
Allen Foresman, another long-time adult mentor, thanked the community for its support and especially the parents who have pitched in by bringing food and drinks to the workshops so the students could continue working on the robot.
He noted that he and Olive have probably put in about 150 man hours each this year, but that they enjoy what they do with the students.
Foresman invited any parents who wanted to help in any way to come by the workshops in the evenings after school during the week and on Saturday when they begin work about 9:30 a.m.
The team has been meeting and working in the locker room on the visitors’ side of the Picayune Memorial High School stadium.
“Any time you can spend up here helping is very appreciated,” he said.