C.C. McLean robotics team prepares for qualifying tournament

Island robotics teams have been excelling at events over the past few years.

GORE BAY – It may or may not be more difficult to take part in remotely (online), but the Charles C. McLean Public School robotics team will be taking part in a qualifying tournament next month. 

“We made the decision to have a season,” stated Ray Scott, coach of the Mecha Martens team, when contacted by The Recorder Friday evening. “We are slated to take part in a qualifying tournament on February 22 (competing remotely).” 

Mr. Scott pointed out this tournament is usually held in person in Sudbury or North Bay, but due to COVID-19, “none of the teams throughout the province will be travelling—all of it will be done by video.” 

“The kids are real troopers, they are used to being in the same room and working together. It is obviously hard to feel connected with other members of a team sitting in your house. But kudos to the students that they are willing to compete in this different type of competition format,” said Mr. Scott. He explained this year’s qualifying tournament theme is sports-related—all about robots and missions—and will include moving on exercise machines or treadmills, playing bocche ball and lifting weights for example. The team has to design their robot along with do the programming for it to take part. 

“Another big part of this year’s theme for the competition is to be encouraging people to be more physically active,” continued Mr. Scott. “There will be a reward system, for getting the robot to carry out a specific exercise for example. The team will be using a computer system and doing research to find solutions to challenges in taking part in that physical activity.” He noted that research indicates a lot of people aren’t as physically active as they should be. 

“The details on the competition and what teams have to do has not been released yet. We are waiting for specific instructions at this point, but is sounds like we will need to put a video recording with sound together and send it to the judges (for the competition),” continued Mr. Scott. 

The Mecha Martens Robotics Lego team is made up of eight students, all veterans to the C.C. McLean robotics team. They include Amara Wilson-Zegil, Athena Gravelle, Ezra Diebolt, Hailey Wadge, Henry Hartin, Maryam Aliagan, Noah Walker and Ruby Niemi. All are junior-intermediate students.

The team has been meeting online since the fall, with its first meeting having taken place on September 29 and has since met twice a week.

The First Lego League Robotics International league contacted C.C. McLean school about taking part in this year’s competition. 

“For me, I want the students to have the experience of taking part in this type of competition,” said Mr. Scott, noting the many types of activities that students normally take part in are not taking place this year due to the pandemic. 

“The students are very excited to take part and anxious to see how this is all going to turn out,” said Mr. Scott. “We have eight special kids ready to make a go at this and put their best foot forward. February 22 is going to be a big day for them.”

To help the Mecha Martens in their research for the project, the team is encouraging everyone to fill out a short survey. “The survey doesn’t collect email addresses, so it should be anonymous for anyone who wishes to fill it out,” said Mr. Scott. “It takes less than two minutes to complete, but would help the C.C. McLean robotics teams a lot if people can support the teams through the survey about people’s physical activity. The link to the survey is https://forms.gle/68JtSStikjqGT9g38.