BEACON ‘gears’ crank at robotic tourney
Moab ‘geeks’ win big
Feb 08, 2018 | 534 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The “Gear Geeks” of Grand County Middle School claimed the Robot Performance Award at the LEGO League robotics competition in Price. Pictured are Tambree Howard, Kayle Wagner, Nate Torres, Jacob Knight, Matthew Andrews and (hidden) Isaac Ellison. 	   Courtesy photo
The “Gear Geeks” of Grand County Middle School claimed the Robot Performance Award at the LEGO League robotics competition in Price. Pictured are Tambree Howard, Kayle Wagner, Nate Torres, Jacob Knight, Matthew Andrews and (hidden) Isaac Ellison. Courtesy photo
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Students from the BEACON After School Program at Grand County Middle School competed at the first LEGO League robotics competition on Jan. 28 in Price. The squad from Moab competed against 11 other teams at the event, winning the Robot Performance Award — and a chance to compete at the Utah championship on Feb. 10 at Weber State University.

​ Despite a loss in the final round, the six-member Gear Geeks were able to modify and program their robot “on the fly” to beat their previous personal best with a score of 134, winning the robot game.

​ As part of the competition, teams must choose a problem and develop an innovative solution. The theme this year was “hydrodynamics.” Students examined the safety of drinking water at GCMS, consulted experts, researched the problem and discovered that the water is safe. The water is tested for coliform, copper and lead, and is much higher quality than expected. The Gear Geeks spread the word to fellow students by placing informative signs around the school and at drinking fountains, touting the motto “Drink like a Deer.”

​ “This means that we should be like a deer, and always drink the best water available,” said Jacob Knight, whose role on the team is that of project manager and lead robot designer. “All of the water at school is safe, but the water at the drinking fountains is the best because it is filtered. Filtered water is more appealing and people drink more if it tastes good, which prevents dehydration.”

​ The students shared their solution with judges by writing and performing an original song that told the story of their efforts to test the safety of the water. In addition to performing the song and winning the robot game, students participated in the core values challenge, which is a way to display inclusion, cooperation and integration with the team. The Gear Geeks were also noted for their display of professionalism at the tournament.

​ Team coach Robert Magleby explained how the tournament helped students, saying, “It is a great way for students to learn about STEM topics, problem solving, and professional ethical conduct while having a lot of fun.”

​ Students from BEACON (Building Essential Assets through Community Outreach and Networking) have won trophies at the last four events and have competed at the state level for the last two years.

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