Greystone Elementary hosts Super Bowl Challenge robotics tournament

Brock's Gap Intermediate School students work together on a program for their robot during the Jan. 31 Super Bowl Challenge robotics competition. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Brock’s Gap Intermediate School students work together on a program for their robot during the Jan. 31 Super Bowl Challenge robotics competition. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—The halls of Greystone Elementary School were bustling with activity on Jan. 31 as 165 students busily prepared, programmed and maneuvered robots through various challenges during a Hoover City Schools-wide Super Bowl Challenge robotics tournament.

A Greystone Elementary School student surveys a challenge at the Jan. 31 robotics competition at Greystone Elementary School. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

A Greystone Elementary School student surveys a challenge at the Jan. 31 robotics competition at Greystone Elementary School. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Each school brought a team of students to compete at Greystone Elementary School. Teams were split into smaller groups of three to four students per robot, Greystone resource and enrichment teacher and tournament organizer, Mandy Fox, said.

“They all have 10 different challenges they’re working on,” Fox explained, noting each team received the challenges when they arrived at the competition. To go along with the Super Bowl weekend, each challenge was NFL-themed.

Programming rooms were set up in the school’s two computer labs and challenges were arranged in the cafeteria and gym.

Students were given two hours to write programs on computers, transmit the programs to their robots and then successfully complete each challenge. Judges stationed at each challenge awarded teams points based on the robot’s ability to complete each element of the challenge.

“They’re excited and they’re learning,” Fox said. “They love it.”

The Jan. 31 tournament was one of three the Greystone Elementary School robotics team will compete in this year. In addition to tournaments, the 21 students meet each week to build, practice and program, Fox said.

Robotics builds and reinforces essential real-world skills among students, Fox said, including “amazing problem solving skills.”

“It’s breaking down a task into small, manageable tasks,” Fox said, adding the students also must use an “incredible amount of math” and “a great deal of technology.”

At the end of the tournament, total scores were tallied for each team and the top three teams were recognized for their success, Fox said, adding all participating teams demonstrated their hard work.