Newspaper Archive of
Mattawa Area News
Mattawa, Washington
January 15, 2014     Mattawa Area News
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January 15, 2014

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Page 4, Mattawa Area News, Wed., Jan. 15, 2014 Robots from page 1 Larry Sandoval holds up a Vex robotic claw as he, and classmates Martin Vargas and Christian Sandoval, work on programming that runs the Vex robot. JOYCE EDIE PHOTOS Winter really isn't over yet. We have all you need, just in case. Fuel Stabilizer- Heet- Battery Chargers Wipers Rio's Auto Ag Supply - Gov. Road, Mattawa, WA 509.932.4058 Teams who make it through the elimination rounds will compete in the double elimination finals bracket matchup in the af- ternoon. For more information or to volunteer to help out con- tact GEAR UP coordinator Maricela Guzman, teachers Myron Hamilton, or Arthur Morken at 932.4455. What the WJHRP is The Wahluke Junior High Robotics Program started in Oct. 2012 with a GEAR UP grant and consisted of two Vex Robotics teams. This year the number of teams has doubled, with students in teams Warrior 1 through Warrior IV. Teacher Arthur Moken explained there is a reason why the teams were named that way. "We decided to name our robots that way to cre- ate uniformity and unity within our teams, to remind ourselves that at the end of the day we might be four different teams, but we are still Wahluke Warriors and we need to take care of and help each other," he said. They have already at- tended two competitions, one in Sunnyside and at Central Washington University. At the Sunnyside competition one of the Warrior teams made it to the semifinals, and ended fourth of 32 teams made up of junior and high school students. At CWU all local teams made it into the finals and ranked 9, 13, 16 and 19 out of 32 teams, where more than half were high school teams. So what do students involved in the program think? Blanca Gutierrez is an eighth grade student of t-lamilton's and in her first year of the program. 'I wanted to try something new, have fun building robots and learn more stuft," she said. And she hasn't been disappointed. She and classmates Juan Morales and Donovan Cantu are getting ready for Saturday and said the program is fun and edtlcational. Donovan said that he enjoys seeing the other teams compete. "I like to see what other teams do, their plan and how they control their robots." Juan said that the competitions are great and they learn a lot. "It's fun to build and see it (the robot) compete against other teams. We see how good the design we have does against the others." Seventh graders Marcos Herrera, Martin Vargas and cousins Larry and Christian Sando- val are students of Morken and they explained a bit about what they are studying in their first-year class, a Technology, Automation and Robotics curriculum unit. Pointing at strings of numbers and letters on their monitors, they explained they are writ- ing and coding programs so the robots function. The students of Morken might be young, but they understand that the things they are learning is the future. Marcos said, "Technology is changing every day." And with what they are learning, they have the opportunity to work at keeping up on an always growing career. Martin said that one thing he enjoys about technology is knowing that it helps make people's lives easier. Larry pointed out that just about everything uses robotic technol- ogy from factories to cars and learning how to write programs was exciting. In addition to robotics WJH has also chartered a Technology Student Society (TSA) Club that meets after school to provide leadership development opportunities and com- petitive contests for the things learned during the school day. Because the Wahluke School District has supported expansion of GEAR UP funds, the two teachers instruct 200 students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). The lessons are designed to help students understand what engineers do and how their roles work in the economy. Morken said, "I believe this is one of the few classes where students see the techno- logical world we live in and start to build a foundation of skills to navigate a path leading to high paying and purposeful careers. STEM fields will be the world changers of the next decade in medicine, world issUes, agricultural production, manufacturing, scientific research and global communication...we need to equip our students with the building blocks to understand and impact this runaway train of technology. Two of those essen- tial blocks are designand automation." Above: Christian Sandoval, Larry Sandoval, Martin Vargas, and Marcos Her- rera, partially hidden, check out an example of a robotics competition ring on their computers. The junior high is hosting a competition this Saturday.