St. John-Hudson robotics students displayed their computer skills at an open house.

Normally, third graders driving would be a very scary thing but for third grade robotics students at St. John-Hudson, they got to show off their driving skills at a robotics open house Nov. 7 at the school.

Students in high school, middle school and third grade are all studying robotics.

At the open house, a field is set up for students to demonstrate their skill and drive the robots. Third graders get robots that are already put together. Their challenge is to learn code and get the robots to move in a perfect square.

“That’s how you start. You start small,” said Andrea Sayler-Siefkes high school math and robotics teacher. “You could tell the kids loved it. They were having a great time.”

Brad Emery, third grade teacher, teaches the robotics class for his stu- dents and Danny Smith teaches the middle school Students. All took part in the open house.

The third graders have a lot to learn so they start out doing small things then work their way up. One of the first things the third graders learn is how to enter code using “Spark” to get the robots to do what they want to do.

About 100 people attended the open house. Everybody came out on the gym floor and the students drove the robots. High school and middle school students were also on hand for the event. The high school students are working on get- ting their robot ready to compete in this year’s challenge called “Turning Point.” Its a complicated game with lots of scoring options. One of Sayler-Siefkes student’s, sophomore Damian Rios, has upgraded to an new computer system and new motors. He’s having to learn the new system and its more complicated that the previous system.

At the tournament, the robots have to be autonomous and work by themselves for the first 15 seconds. For the next 75 seconds, the students use a controller to make the robot go and do what they need to do.

At the competition, there are several ways to score points. The robot has to pickup discs and turn them over so the team color is showing, stack the discs on poles, throw a ball at a flag to show the appropriate team color and park the robot in a specific place. Other team robots are allowed to compete for park- ing places so they can actually push each other around, Sayler-Siefkes said.

As for their home meet, scheduling is an issue. The had a meet scheduled for Nov. 17 but no team signed up to attend.

Now, Sayler-Siefkes is facing a challenge for her home meet in January. Originally, the meet was scheduled on a Saturday at the school but she learned from other schools that was difficult to get away to a meet. So Sayler-Siefkes is working on a meet during the week and at a different location than the school. During the week, the basketball teams need the gym so they need a different place to host their tournament.

Sayler-Siefkes said she is still working out logistics and looking for a facility to host the home meet but she is confident she will get every thing worked out.