ELDERSBURG — With a count of three, Mr. Sprinkles and Kiki faced off in the center of the ring, in a battle for honor, victory and possibly their lives.
Plastic crashed against plastic and wheels were dislodged, but eventually Mr. Sprinkles was victorious, knocking his opponent out of the ring with a spinning propeller attached to his back.
With the success of their robot, sixth-grade student Ana Andersson and fourth-grader Molly Richards leapt up and began repairing Mr. Sprinkles for his next bout in the Summer Robotics Camp finale at the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Public Library.
The weeklong camp taught elementary-aged students to build a basic robot using an EV3 module, Lego blocks and Mindstorms software. The robots were programmed to navigate a maze, using a sensor to determine where white tape lines were on a floor and backing away from the borders.
The final day of the class featured a sumo wrestling competition, where the robots battled it out one-on-one trying to push each other out of a white-tape ring. The course was led by Danielle Walter, a rising senior at Liberty High School with the FIRST Tech Challenge. She said part of the group is built around outreach to younger students to raise their interest in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“I wish I had something like this when I was younger. I moved around a lot as a kid, so this wasn’t an option,” Walter said. “Think about today’s society, they’re getting more and more STEM focused. This gets kids thinking about engineering. Plus it’s just fun.”
Each of the partner groups designed their robots based on their ideas of what would succeed best in the ring. Some made giant machines that were hard to push, while others built small cars low to the ground. Vehicles ranged from three to eight wheels, while some added decorative flourishes and names to their…