Script for Video-The Robots Are Coming

We have a lot of young engineers who were interested in just trying to build stuff, and we formed a robotics team.

RYAN MELTON (Grenada Middle School, Project Lead the Way): I teach the Project Lead the Way classes here, and I am the coach of the team. This year just being our pilot year and our rookie year I kind of hand-picked the students that were in it, and we just picked the ones that we thought would show the most interest in some robotics, that could do programming with the computer systems and just showed, you know, a really good imagination.

STUDENT: And he's name Charlie because our theme is Willy Wonka.

STUDENT: Our team name is Pure Imagination.

MELTON: Currently we have six middle school students and one high school student. Our high school student, he's our programmer, and he has learned to completely write the coding for our robot from scratch. He sits with this computer, he types it all in, transfers it to the cell phones that run the robot. Now our middle school students, the six that we have now, they knew nothing about robotics when they got started, and they are pretty much self-taught. Anything they haven't known how to do, we've gotten some people from other teams to help us through Google chatting and teleconferencing with them. We've had some people from Ole Miss have come down and helped us a little bit, but they are completely hands-on, self-taught with the robot, and they've done a real good job with it, building him and changing him. They love to take him apart and rebuild him over and over and over again until they finally get just what they want him to do. Materials that the robotics club used to build our robot… that is what is used in the robotics class that will be taught here at the middle school next year. They have to design and plan out how the robot is going to work, how they're writing it, the gear ratios, the speeds of the different components, and that will translate directly into being able to use it with the competitive robot.

It's always a loose connection.

And what we are getting to go to now is the World Championships. One hundred and twenty-seven teams from around the world will be at our competition that we compete in in Houston. We ended up second place at our regionals, which qualified us to go to state. We ended up fourth place at state, and, you know, we thought our season was over. You can submit one entry to try to get yourself into World. There's over 12,000 teams in the world, and I said we were the Cinderella story. We got randomly selected to get to go ahead and compete in Worlds. We get to step in and see what we can do against the best of the best. The robotics team did to Houston to compete in the World Championships. Just in our area where were set up with our robot, our neighbors were from Australia. We had two teams from Canada, a team from Lebanon, and a Chinese team, a Russian team, and a Japanese team just in our area. For a rookie team we were proud of how we ended up. We didn't win, but we didn't come in last.

We've been told that as a rookie team to get to go to Worlds that is just a massive thing that doesn't normally get to happen. So they were all real happy and real pleased, and I thought they did a great job. Since we've gotten back, they've completely redesigned the robot. They have a brand new energy, and they have already planned out what they want to do for next year club-wise – who's doing what jobs and all. They sat down, they focused, and just since we started, that club has really improved. And, you know, they've grown, and they've become a true team.