Cold Spring students work on their robot at practice. It’s 3:00 p.m. and students in the Robotics Club at Cold Spring School are gathered in the library. They have their robot out and are practicing stacking blocks, like they’ll have to do in competition.

Sixth grade student Christopher steers the robot toward a pile of blocks, picks up one and drives to the stack he has already built. No one makes a sound as he guides the robot and block into place. He drops the block down onto the stack. It wobbles, and there’s a collective gasp from the other students. Then the block settles.

“Wow! That’s the first time we’ve stacked four before,” Christopher says.

The group of fifth and sixth grade students compose the “Eagle Bots,” Cold Spring’s first robotics team. This is the first year that elementary school teams can participate in the Indy VRC Robotics Competition sponsored by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cold Spring teacher John Stevenson jumped at the chance for Cold Spring to be involved.

“They’ve done everything themselves for this project,” Stevenson says. “That’s how it’s supposed to be. They’re a smart group, and they work hard.”

The first thing the Eagle Bots had to do was build their robot, an easy task for the Cold Spring students. They had the whole thing built in less than four hours, one of the first teams to do so.

The students gather at Forest Manor every weekend to practice with their robot and work out glitches. Mayor Ballard’s Office provides “expert” volunteers to help the students with the robots.

“The first weekend the robot wasn’t working properly,” says Stevenson. “Even the expert couldn’t figure it out. Then five minutes later the kids said ‘Wait, we’ve got it!’ They’re that good.”

For competition the students will have 60 seconds to stack as many blocks as they can using the robot. However, the group has to switch drivers halfway through.

Christopher, who is one of the drivers for the team, says he’s most nervous about the controls for competition. Otherwise, he says his team is “hard working and smart.”

Strategy is integral for competition, and with only 60 seconds the team doesn’t have time to waste. During their practices after school and on the weekends they’re focusing on creating a strategy for their robot that gets them the most points.

“Could we get together over fall break to practice?” asks one student.

Now that’s going above and beyond! We’re proud of our Cold Spring Eagle Bots and wish them well in competition!

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