Each team is loaned a Boe-Bot Robot Kit (manufactured by Parallax, Inc.) from the Zillah High School Science Boosters at NO COST.
The teams have approximately 6 weeks for students to learn how to assemble, program, test and modify their robots before the competition. Each year there are two competitions; one held in December and one in March.
All operations performed by the robot must first be written in computer code by the students. As such, students must learn the computer language P-Basic. The program makes use of students’ mathematical and problem solving skills by requiring keen attention to detail and mathematical ingenuity to get the robot to perform at its highest level. Additionally, the robot needs to be physically assembled and wired. This allows for an increased understanding of electrical currents and circuitry.
The Zillah Robot Challenge is based on at least three different competitions. Competitions may include: line following, sumo-robot wrestling, mazes, light following and/or spontaneous programming. Awards may also be given for other categories such as: innovative structural design, elegant or creative programming, and best "day of" modifications. At the end of the competition day, all kits and materials are returned to ZHS.
Competition day also features a guest lecture or demonstration from an area professional in a technology related field. The December 2011 keynote demonstration was by a Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad Unit and their robot.
HOW MANY SCHOOLS PARTICIPATE?
Typically there are between 12 and 15 schools participating at each Challenge. While some schools have attended every one of our Competitions, we always have new schools and new teams participating. It is important to note that first time participants (with no previous knowledge of programming or robotics) have won our competition on their first try! At the same time, there are a few schools that do quite well each year.
From December 2008 to December 2012, we have hosted 9 Zillah Robot Challenges for High Schools and 2 Zillah Robot Challenges for Middle Schools. Over 70 different schools and more than 1000 students have participated.