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posted: 3/6/2014 12:41 PM

Students to compete in Vex Robotics championship Saturday

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  • See more than 30 teams from across the state competing in the Illinois Vex Robotics State Championship on Saturday, March 8, at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia.

      See more than 30 teams from across the state competing in the Illinois Vex Robotics State Championship on Saturday, March 8, at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2013

Submitted by Fox Valley Robotics

More than 250 leading middle and high school VEX Robotics students and mentors from around the state will unite at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia on Saturday, March 8 for the Illinois Vex Robotics State Championship.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Rotolo Middle School, 1501 S. Raddant Road in Batavia. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

More information can be obtained at

The tournament will feature more than 30 teams who will compete with and against other schools in a series of back-to-back robot challenges. Participants will compete for the championship title by strategically executing the game Toss Up, driving robots they designed, built and programmed from the ground up using the VEX Robotics Design System.

VEX Toss Up is played on a 12- by 12-foot square field. Two alliances -- one "red" and one "blue" -- composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a 15-second autonomous period followed by 1 minute and 45 seconds of driver-controlled play.

The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by scoring colored Buckyballs and large balls into the middle zone and goal zone, by stashing colored Buckyballs and large balls into the goals, and by hanging or hanging with a ball, at various heights, off the colored bar at the end of the match.

There are a total of 20 Buckyballs and eight large balls available as scoring objects in the game. Most scoring objects begin in designated locations on the field, while some are available to be loaded prior to the match.

Each robot (smaller than 18 by 18 by 18 inches to start) begins a match on one of their alliance starting tiles. There are two scoring zones and two goals that alliances can score objects into. Alliances also earn points for having

Robots of their own color hanging from their hanging bar at the end of the match. A bonus is awarded to the alliance that has the most total points at the end of the autonomous period.

The Illinois Vex Robotics State Championship is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Robotics is the world's fastest growing competitive robotics program for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 7,300 teams from 26 countries that participate in more than 400 VEX robotics competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship event, uniting top qualifying teams from local, state and international VEX robotics competitions.

"The technological economy of the future depends on equipping today's youth with the tools necessary to become tomorrow's leading innovators," said Ron Karabowicz, event organizer from Fox Valley Robotics/Batavia Robotics. "This tournament provides kids with an engaging hands-on learning experience that promotes a passion for science and technology -- instilling in them an appreciation for the field and an enthusiasm to pursue STEM-related education and careers."

Fox Valley Robotics/Batavia Robotics was chosen to host this event which is the first of its kind in Illinois. After substantial growth in Illinois for the last two years, the committee determined that a state championship was needed. Teams that will be attending this event will have prequalified from one of the other six events held around the state between November and March. From this event, six teams will be heading to California for the world competition.

The VEX Robotics Competition is managed by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation and serves as a vehicle for students to develop critical life skills such as teamwork, leadership and project management, honed through building robots and competing with like-minded students from the community. The VEX Robotics Design System was built from the ground up and designed to be an affordable, accessible and scalable platform used to teach science, technology, engineering and math education worldwide.

The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to operating and supporting competitions for some of the world's leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA and BEST Robotics Competitions, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators -- including the community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.

Batavia Robotics is a nonprofit organization which has been around the area since 2002. In 2007 to offer the program and incorporate kids from multiple communities, the name of Fox Valley Robotics was added. Today, more than 175 kids participate in three divisions of robotics. The LegoWolves Division is for the first-third graders, the LegoDogs Division is for fourth-eighth-graders, and the Coyotes Division is for eighth-12th-graders. For more information about the organization, visit either or