Submitted by Teresa Mertens

On Saturday, December 10, 2016, the Atchison County “ACME Robotics9796” team traveled south to Smithville to compete in a Missouri FIRST FTC Qualifier Tournament. AMCE Robotics is a 4-H group from Atchison County that is involved in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program that works with student’s grade 7-12 in the local area. The ACME Robotics team is in its second year of existence. The team members are Juleighanne Adams, Zachary Clauson, Ethan Lucas, Kalyn Mertens, Ryder Proctor and Luke Roberson. Team mentors are Teresa Mertens, Ken Miller, and Dan Stinard.
During the Qualifier, students are required to give a presentation to judges talking about their journey getting to the tournament. They discuss the process of the robot and struggles they have encountered along the way.
The robotic competition consisted of twenty three teams randomly placed into groups of four to compete in five rounds of competition between the teams. Each competitive round consists of different random team configurations. Through their use of unique engineering skills and programming skills, ACME robotics ranked 10th out of 23 teams at the end of regular play. At this competition, the ACME team was chosen as one of the final twelve teams for the elimination round. Their alliance was able to defeat the top ranked alliance’s team and advance to the finals. Unfortunately, ACME Robotics alliance lost in the championship round, but ended the day on the second place Alliance team. In addition the ACME Robotic team obtained “The Control Award,” which is given to the team who best exemplifies software and engineering abilities that meet the challenges that the Velocity Vortex game presents. The robot was able to utilize color sensors when needed to press beacons and was able to shoot particles to score points. In addition, this was the ONLY Robot at the tournament that was able to win beacon points in autonomous mode. This was the first year that the ACME Robot was able to have a working autonomous mode. Using Android Studio, students were able to program the robot to work on its own to complete a task.
Members of the Robotics team have also had the opportunity help teach students in the Rock Port Elementary Schools (grade 3-6) learn basic coding skills (programming). Rock Port Elementary Students are fortunate to have STEM activities implemented through Project Lead The Way (PLTW) that help to engage students in activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We look forward to the implementation of PLTW in the upper grade levels and the continuation of Robotic engineering and software development.
ACME Robotics 9796 has been very fortunate to have the support of the local community during their 2016-2017 season. Your help in supporting our fundraising efforts and donations are truly appreciated. We take pride in making Atchison County proud. Any of those interested in joining the ACME Robotics group or just interested in what we do, contact a team member or come by one of our Wednesday evening or Saturday morning meetings. We would be excited to have you stop by. ACME Robotics 9796 next meet will be in Kansas City on January 7, 2017. The Team will then travel to Lincoln, Neb. to participate in Nebraska FTC Champion Saturday, January 14, 2017 at Lancaster Event Center.