Local Schools Earn Awards at Western Pennsylvania VEX IQ State Championships

| March 13, 2019

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (EYT) – Several local schools recently competed in the VEX IQ Challenge Pennsylvania State Championship held at Keystone Oaks High School in Pittsburgh.

Four teams from Valley Grove Elementary School; four teams from Franklin Area Middle School; seven teams from Cranberry Area Junior-Senior High School; three teams from Keystone Elementary School; three teams from Redbank Valley Intermediate School; and three teams from Redbank Valley High School competed in the VEX IQ Challenge Pennsylvania State Championship on Saturday, March 9.

The VEX IQ Challenge, which is presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is designed to provide elementary and middle school students with exciting, open-ended robotics and research project challenges to enhance their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills through hands-on, student-centered learning, and to foster student development of the teamwork, critical thinking, project management, and communication skills required to prepare them to become the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.

This year’s state competition netted some awards for Venango County Schools as well as a special opportunity for one team.

Team 432E, The Brain Teasers, from Valley Grove Elementary School, won the Pennsylvania State Elementary Excellence Award. This award qualifies the team to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship held in Louisville, Kentucky from April 28 to April 30.

The Brain Teasers, from left to right: Aaron Wetjen, Quinten Boozell, Lucas Hickey, and Maddox Songer.

Valley Grove wasn’t the only local school to return with awards. The No Shows from Cranberry Area Junior-Senior High School won the Design Award and the Create Award and the 4 Bust-them-gears from Cranberry Area Junior-Senior High School won the Judges Award.

The Franklin Knights from Franklin Area Middle School won the Energy Award.

The challenge the competitors faced is titled “Next Level” and is played on a 4’x8’ rectangular field. Two robots compete in the Teamwork Challenge as an alliance in 60-second long teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points.

Each of the teams also competed in a Robot Skills Challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible. These matches consist of Driving Skills Matches, which are entirely driver controlled, and Programming Skills Matches, which are autonomous with limited human interaction. The object of the challenge is to attain the highest score by scoring and stacking colored Hubs in Building Zones, removing Bonus Hubs from the Hanging Structure, and by Parking or Hanging on the Hanging Bar.

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