One local robotics team is ranked in the top 30 in the world…and they’re only in fifth grade.
State officials are spot lighting this team to show the rest of West Virginia Schools just how truly impressive these kids are. These fifth graders look like your average, run of the mill youngsters but they’re actually in the top 1% for a robotics teams in the world.
They beat out people from China, India and Australia, which is something not even they expected they’d do.
“It’s really cool, I never thought it would happen,” said robotics team member Cambell Koegler. “We were just doing it to do it, not to win.”
“I honestly was expecting, okay we’ll do these challenges, we’re probably going to be one of those with a perfect code, but we wouldn’t make it in the top 30,” said fellow team member Kathryn Prather.
“I really didn’t think we would make it this far,” robotics team member Grant Kenamond told 7News reporter Nick Conigliaro.
The tournament features dot and dash robots, with the children coding the robots to complete five different challenges involving putting a ping pong ball in a cup without knocking it over and operating on the mat with just a single code. And they couldn’t have any help from their coach. But there was more than just coding that had to be done for the final round.
“They had to do the code, they had to submit the robot running the code, they had to keep a scientific journal, they had to submit a multi-media version of that journal which they turned into a webpage, and they had to shoot an introductory video that used imagination,” said robotics team coach Sandra Wiseman.
This is the first year Woodsdale Elementary has even had a robotics team, but getting participants wasn’t too difficult.
“I kind of just wanted to spend time with my friends at first, but then it turned into I wanted to code the robots, then it turned out to be really fun just to code,” said team member Alex Taylor.
“I just really liked robots, and my mom and dad are engineers,” team member Max Hill told 7News.
“I did some coding at home with RFCode and stuff, and I thought it’d be cool to do robot club,” said Koegler.
With so much success from these fifth graders, the school can’t help but just be impressed by what they’ve accomplished.
“The whole process is amazing to me, that we have students that are smart enough and have enough math skills to code,” Woodsdale Elementary School Principal Ashlea Minch said on how proud she is of the team.
As for the teams end goal:
“I hope we win. It would be crazy,” said Taylor.
“I want to get first place, but I think anywhere in the top 5 or the top 10…you know what it’s just cool to be in the top 30,” Prather told 7News.