VIDEO: Oakville High hosts first Robotics Competition

Several months ago, students were given a box of mechanical parts, a list of specifications and a series of objectives with varying point totals.

From just those three items, teams from schools throughout the area were told to build a robot, according to a Mehlville School District news release.

On Saturday, nine teams put their robots to the test at Oakville Senior High School’s first Robotics Competition. All of the participants were high school students taking upper-level engineering and technology courses.

Their robots had to be a specific size and programmed to successfully complete one or more tasks, from picking up softball-sized balls and beach balls, to knocking balls off of elevated platforms and even being able to do a pull-up by grabbing onto an elevated bar. Each team had 60 seconds to see how many points it could earn by completing the various tasks.

Richard Kling, the department chairman for Oakville High’s technology and engineering classes, created and oversaw the competition.

“They have to design it, brainstorm it, lay it out, and then go to the box of parts and start building it,” Kling stated in the release. “We invite industry into our school and that’s all we heard — give me people who know how to read a ruler, how to lay out a machine, and basically what we heard was, ‘Give me people who know how to think.'”

Oakville High student Emma Sona was one of just a few females who took part in the competition.

“We learned a lot about how simple machines work, a lot of problem-solving and how to program, which is pretty useful,” she stated.

Most of these students will continue their educations at four-year colleges and universities or technical schools that concentrate on computer and mechanical engineering skills, according to Kling. With a growing demand for students like these, Kling said they are all but guaranteed jobs when they complete their post-high school education.

The one thing Kling would like to see — more high school girls signing up for engineering and technology courses.

A video from the Robotics Competition is below: