Club Spotlight: Mechanical Madness 4-H Robotics


4-H robotic members

The Mechanical Madness 4-H Robotics Team in Cheshire County is hard at work, gearing up for their competitions!  Now in the middle of their “build” season, the members received instructions for this year’s FIRST Robotics challenge in January, determined which elements upon which to focus, and are creating their robot from the ground up.

The build season is intense.  Gathering up to five days per week, club members meet at the Walpole Town Hall and use both old and new parts to build their robot each year. Mechanical Madness’s approach is unique, as they are one of the few teams that uses wood instead of metal as a base.  “I definitely have learned more woodworking skills than I would have otherwise” teammate Max commented.  Graham, Max, and Cutler all agreed that by participating in the club they have acquired more engineering and problem-solving skills than they do in a traditional classroom. As with all 4-H clubs, the teens learn by doing, with volunteers Evelyn and Paul Beliveau prompting them with questions instead of providing answers, and the members continually learn from their mistakes and successes.

Mechanical Madness is also excited and grateful this year that through a FIRST lottery, they are one of 50 teams selected to receive a 3D printer.  The team members are excited to assemble the printer and use it to fabricate additional parts for their robot.

Each FIRST Robotics team chooses two competitions in which to compete.  This year they have chosen two New England District Events, the first in Salem on March 3rd-5th, and the second from April 8th-10th at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Competing at WPI not only leaves them time to fine-tune their robot between competitions, but was also chosen for team members to visit WPI as a potential future college choice.

To learn what our 4-H team is working toward, check out the FIRST Robotics Challenge at

logo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgniEjI9cCM.

We are excited to watch the progress of Mechanical Madness’s build season and can’t wait to see how they navigate this year’s competitions!

Mechanical Madness is a new FIRST robotics team in Cheshire County 4-H. All high school students are welcome to join!

Author(s)

Kimberly Bylancik
4-H Program Manager
Extension Program Mgr
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension Youth and Family, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824