Robotics Competition Returns for its Second Year

The local middle school and high school robotics competition hosted by UC CEAS returns this year on March 19. 

By: Kelley Ujvary

Date: March 7, 2011


Students and teachers come to learn about sustainability and the 2011 Robotics Competition

A competition to test students’ creativity, design, research skills, curiosity, persistence and determination gets underway this month. Teams of students must find and implement environmental solutions to address hazards and show sustainability.

“They are given a Lego Mindstorm robotics kit and a problem to solve. I think we, as a community, should ensure that we are doing what we can to give opportunities to those who would like to pursue an education in engineering and technology,” says Professor Cheryll Dunn, a member of the “Where in the Neighborhood is Dr. Dunn” robotics competition committee.

This competition is a ten-week challenge for local middle and high school students that tests and enhances their problem solving, robotic building and programming skills, while exposing them to real world issues.
Students are given an environmental problem that they must solve using their robot.  The problem this year is sustainability as applied to products and processes — solutions that we use today while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Dr. Dunn says, “We are using this competition as a way to also introduce students to environmental issues that they can research and address.  A chunk of what they need to do is research on the environment and ways to improve quality.  We want them to increase their understanding beyond their initial thoughts of how to solve the problem, they need to dig deeper.”


Guest speaker educating participants on the importance of sustainability.

Guest speaker educating participants on the importance of sustainability.Students have a ten-week period with their team of eight people to do a variety of things.  They must do research on the problem they are trying to solve, keep a journal of what they are learning over the course of the competition, build their robot, and create an oral and visual presentation to showcase their knowledge to the judges on the day of the competition. This competition will provide them with problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills that should improve their performance when they advance to a collegiate environment.

When asked about the goal of this program, Dr. Dunn stated that they “invited schools that may not have the resources to compete in other competitions so their students could gain exposure to participating in a robotics event. The teams hope to get their schools to sponsor them which will further enhance their education in STEM areas.”

This could not be accomplished alone. Supporters of this effort to inspire a passion for engineering and technology include Toyota, UC, National Technical Association, American Society for Quality, and Minorities in Math, Science and Engineering.  

“All involved, from industry representatives to the students, understand the importance of STEM education and are committed to its purpose” declares Dunn. 

The second annual “Where in the Neighborhood is Dr. Dunn” robotics competition will take place March 19, 2011. Teams will come with their final projects in hopes of bringing home a trophy.  Participating schools include:

·         Akin High School

·         Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

·         Hughes High School

·         John P. Parker Middle School

·         Mount Healthy Junior High

·         Mount Healthy Senior High

·         Oyler High School

·         Pleasant Hill Academy

·         The Phoenix (last year’s winner)

·         Robert A. Taft High School

·         Rockdale Academy

·         Schroder High School

·         St. Mark Community Center

·         Walnut Hills High School


Students receive their robot kits and other supplies necessary to get them through the ten week competition.

Students receive their robot kits and other supplies necessary to get them through the ten-week competition.Several schools have multiple teams and will compete for the honor of bringing home a victory.  There are two divisions, one for middle school and one for high school teams.

The twenty-one teams received their robot kits at the kick-off event held on January 10. There were speakers and presentations on sustainability to get the team in the mind set for this year’s competition. On February 17 CEAS held a help night where teams could come with their questions and problems to get support from UC CEAS students. Teams are spending the time up until the competition working on their research, journals, presentation, display and building their robot.

Teams will be judged on creativity, presentation, floor design, robot design and functionality. The volunteer judges come from industry and UC.
Awards for each division include a 1st and 2nd place for robot design and function, 1st and 2nd place for presentation, 1st and 2nd place for floor design, 1st and 2nd place for creativity. A first and second place award will be given to the two teams (middle school and high school) with the highest scores in all areas.  Each participating student also gets a medal to recognize his or her effort.

An additional award is given out called the A.P. Cheney Perseverance Award. This award is named after one of the founding students of this robotics competition. Teams are judged on the qualities such as dedication and hard work and never giving up.Look for the competition results at on Monday March 21. 

Read about last years Robotics Competition