Students show off engineering expertise in Agrobotics competition
DENISON, Texas — More than 50 students from across North Texas convened in Denison Sunday afternoon for a competition combining agriculture with robotics.
Each team in the Texoma Exposition and Livestock Show's "Agrobotics" event creates and programs a robot that can accomplish certain tasks representing the challenges of growing food on the moon.
The hope is that Agrobotics will encourage the FFA and 4-H students to start thinking about what technology could do for their farms.
"With them learning on a simple robot that they've programmed and they've built, it's giving them that expertise where maybe they're not going to be that engineer, but maybe they are going to go back to their family farm, and how are they going to move that farm into the future?" asked Tamra McGaughy, the Grayson County 4-H coordinator.
The competitors have worked on their bots since the beginning of the school year. Their coaches could help during the season, but on competition day, any last-minute troubleshooting is up to the youngsters.
"We ended up tearing our whole robot apart and we came up with better ideas than the last one," said Bryce Cain, part of the Whitesboro ISD team "Moon Cruisers."
Some students did come away from the event with aspirations for careers in STEM.
"I'm thinking of actually programming as a job in the future, because my dad's a programmer, and I think it would just be cool to do this kind of stuff," said Ian Niles from the Whitesboro Middle School team "In Theory It Should Work."
The competition was divided into three age groups, with one champion each. Whitesboro Intermediate School's team "Yoda Cats" won the junior division,
"In Theory It Should Work" took the intermediate prize, and team "Nutt Jobs" all the way from Erath County snagged the senior prize.