The 2017 San Diego STEAM Maker Festival was great. All the booths were very interesting and creative. The one exhibit that I liked the most was
on remote control vehicles.
A group of high schoolers engineered a robot/vehicle
that had to be able to shoot wiffle balls into a basket, and
whoever made the most won. I selected this booth as my
favorite because of all the effort the students put into it —
The size of the hole they had to
shoot the balls into was one foot
wide. The height of the basket was
about eight feet. One of the team
members said it took them about
three months in total to fully
complete their build.
The steps to making this robot
were not easy. First, you had to
assemble a team, then make a
proposal. After that, you would start
the build which required a ton of
materials which, in turn, required a
lot of money.
The team that I talked to said
they spent almost $1,000. They also
said that the hardest part was
figuring out the hardware. (I tried
building a simple robot before and it
was not easy.)
The final product this team
constructed turned out to be 3 x 3
feet. All of the robots had some way
to pick up the balls and shoot them
up at a 75 degree angle into the
The team I interviewed made 10
out of 20, so they came in second
place and were very happy. There
were 10 teams in total.
The robot this one team
designed scooped up the balls, put
them into the bed of the robot, then
shot them out one by one by
pressing a button on the controller.
The design had padding around
the edges and had a compartment
for the balls. Also, the robot was
able to scoop up all 20 of the balls.
I believe this group exhibited all
the qualities of STEAM. Every part of
the build and competition included
science and technology. The robot
required lots of engineering and
math skills to make and complete.
Even art came into it when the
teams were decorating their robots
with different colors and designs.
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