Once again in September and October of 2018, Code Red ran its own elementary program for 4th through 6th grade students called NRG (Next Robotics Generation). This being the 4th year of NRG, we have grown and developed the program to offer a exciting hands-on robotics experience for first, second, and even third year NRG students by offering multiple levels of the program. This year we had 25 students participate along with their parents/guardians!
As previously mentioned, NRG is Code Red’s own elementary robotics program. In this program, each student builds and competes with his/her own robot that he/she builds with the help of a parent or guardian. At the beginning of the season, a new game is introduced to all of the NRG students. This game has been designed and developed by Code Red’s FRC students. At the start of each meeting, all of the students take part in strategy sessions, team building activities, problem solving games, and engineering challenges. After that, first year students spend the 6 weeks of the season building their own Arduino robots, designing and adding a “manipulator” to that robot for game play, and practicing robot driving skills. Second and third year students took their already built robots (from previous seasons) and learned additional programming for the robot. They had an extra game challenge that involved programming their robot to autonomously navigate an obstacle course using sensors and dead reckoning.
For the 2018 season, the NRG game was NRG Liftoff! In this game, 2 alliances of 2 have crashed and are stranded in deep space. Astronauts must escape the wreckage of the ship, deliver spare parts to the engine rooms to repair the engine, start the engines, and prepare for liftoff in order to escape certain peril. To play this game, students had to navigate an obstacle course in the opening of the match, the score game pieces (spare parts) into a goal, and finally balance on a ramp in the end game. The second and third year students had the extra challenge called NRG Kerrehzee Kourse 2018 where they had to navigate a course around obstacles while following a line. The game was well received by the students which was evident in the large number who came for optional practice times each week.
At the end of the season, we held our annual tournament at Byron Center West Middle School, also run by Code Red FRC students who were in charge of set-up, scheduling matches, refereeing matches, queuing, resetting the field, judging for awards, and running matches. Students played several qualification matches with the top 16 moving on to the final tournament. After the winning alliance was determined, awards were presented to the winners of the tournament and judged awards. It was a day full of cheering, exciting game play, and lots of smiles.