Code Red’s 2017 NRG (Next Robotics Generation) season was a smashing success, with our new Code Red student-developed game, “Pyramid Puzzle.” In this game, students in grades 4-6 had to drive their robots to place colored balls into matching colored goals to score points. They could also get extra balls released onto the field by scoring white balls in a pyramid, and they could score bonus point in the end game by placing a multi-colored ball in a designated goal and by parking his/her robot on the pyramid. The game was a fun challenge for the students.
Over a course of 6 weeks our students along with a parent built their own Arduino robot and practiced to compete in the game. They also participated in team building and problem solving games and activities. Students met once a week at our build space with the option to come for a second day each week to work on their robots and engage in drive practice. Many students took advantage of this second meeting each week.
At the end of the season, students competed in our annual NRG competition, which was run by Code Red’s very own FRC students at Byron Center High School. The tournament is an all day affair for students and their families complete with music and a deejay, the use of scoring software developed by Code Red students, a potluck, and awards.
Our FRC students are responsible for developing the game. Throughout the summer months they met regularly and brainstormed to develop the game concept. Then they worked to prototype the game parts and make sure everything worked with the robots, addressing issues as they arose. They also developed a full game manual, robot manual, and game animation that are very similar to the ones that FIRST produces every year.
We had 26 kids this year, nine of them returning students from previous years. For the second year students, we developed a program for our where we teach them some basic programming for their robots, setting them up for later programming in future NRG seasons and in FTC. We have had students return for second and third seasons, and many of our students have graduated to our FTC program from NRG. Our students and parents were amazing and worked as hard as they could to be ready for the competition though. Overall it was a great year and we had so much fun!