Independent “Iron Gears” Robotics Team Prepares for World Competition
The Iron Gears are the senior-most team in the Northwest Metro Robotics club, and are comprised of students from several high schools. The team is preparing to compete in a world competition in Detroit.
“Being able to come here after school every single day to work on robotics is a lot of fun,” said Ryan Graham, who is a 10th grader at Blaine High School. “Especially when I’m working with my best friends.”
The work actually happens in Graham’s Maple Grove basement. But his mom, who is also the head coach, doesn’t seem to mind.
“I pretty much live robotics almost as much as they do,” said Cheryl Graham. “I think of them as an orchestra, every role is so critical and so important.”
The team members are self-motivated and driven too. Each has a role, like programmer or business manager, and they work on a task.
In previous competitions, the team noticed the notebook was a weak spot. The notebook is a massive document that outlines everything about the robot and the team. You can get specifications for how to build it and you can also learn how much volunteering the team has done.
“From 3-D printing to our code, to volunteering and some of the professionals we’ve met with, ” explained Jackson Fellman, who is in the 11th grade at Maple Grove Senior High. “It’s a way to tell the judges what we’ve done this year and why we did it the way we did.”
Weston Herrick, a 10th grader at Irondale High School, says the notebook is fun for him to work on.
“First we add information and then we make it look nice,” said Herrick. “It’s going to be hard to beat this year, I think.”
Iron Gears Robotics Success
The team has had some recent success. After winning the state level for the first time, they will go to compete in Detroit at a world competition.
“It will be a week of robot heaven for us,” said Mitchell Carolan, a senior at Edina High School. “We aren’t building a brand new robot, but we are changing almost everything about our state robot.”
Will this extracurricular activity one day translate into a job opportunity for these students?
Cooper Arvig hopes so. He’s the team’s programmer.
“My plan is to be a computer engineer,” explains Arvig, who is also in the 10th grade at Blaine High School .”I can program or make websites. Or program itty-bitty things that go into robotics-related fields.”
Until then, the Iron Gears will enjoy competing.
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