Powell Middle School Robotic Team Heads To World Championship

Jan 8, 2020

Black Orange Storm team members (L-R) Sam Lind, Dallin Waite, Dexter Opps, Samuel Childers, Alan Crawford, Salem Brown, Isaac Stensing, Kenan Lind and Luke Legler.
Credit Zachary Opps

One of Powell Middle School's robotic teams will represent Wyoming at a world competition in April.

During the statewide Lego League competition, team Black and Orange Storm won first place in Robotics Performance and the Champion's Award. The nine Powell middle schoolers had to design, build and program a robot that can perform tasks that stimulate engineering challenges in an urban environment. Those tasks included driving up a big ramp and lifting and swinging objects.

Seventh grader Alan Crawford said the team learned from their previous mistakes.

"Last year when we did this our robot was not consistent so we were able to go through the problems with that robot. We learned a lot from that year, so like we changed wheels to one that didn't shake around. And then we tried to use less motors," said Crawford.

Another part of the competition included creating an innovative solution to a problem within their own community. The team chose how to clean sand from roads after it's spread to create safer roads during the winter. The solution? A filter that separates sand and trash.

In Houston, the team will be judged on several criteria. Those include the best solution for a problem in their community, how their robot was designed and how they work together as a team. Crawford said they are not finished preparing.

"For our project, we've gone back, talked to more experts and we made more robots so we could experiment with different types." They might use one of the new robots in the Houston competition.

It will cost the Powell middle school team about $10,000 to attend the competition in Houston. So in addition to preparing, the students are thinking of fundraising ideas.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.