2017-05-14 / News

Chesaning robotics team gears up for next year

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter


The Chesaning High School robotics team, Gears of Fortune, demonstrated its 2017 robot for the school board during the May 8 meeting. Pictured from left to right are superintendent Mike McGough, treasurer Scott Kohagen, trustee Julie Keck and board secretary Becky Butcher. Not pictured here are the students operating the robot Zach Sincissen, Bryce Bila and Dakota VanFleteren; as well as team advisors Bob Coon and Steve Guzdial. Here, students demonstrate the robot’s ability to pick up the game balls. 
Photo by Jeanne Marcello The Chesaning High School robotics team, Gears of Fortune, demonstrated its 2017 robot for the school board during the May 8 meeting. Pictured from left to right are superintendent Mike McGough, treasurer Scott Kohagen, trustee Julie Keck and board secretary Becky Butcher. Not pictured here are the students operating the robot Zach Sincissen, Bryce Bila and Dakota VanFleteren; as well as team advisors Bob Coon and Steve Guzdial. Here, students demonstrate the robot’s ability to pick up the game balls. Photo by Jeanne Marcello CHESANING – The Chesaning High School robotics team, Gears of Fortune/ Team #5235, brought its 2017 robot to the May 8 meeting of the Chesaning Union Schools Board of Education.

Robotics team students Zach Sincissen, Bryce Bila and Dakota VanFleteren addressed the school board talking about this year’s competition, their robot and demonstrating what it could do. They also talked about the value of the program.

Team members took turns explaining how the robotics competition works. The game changes every year, and game specifics are top secret until they are released around the world at once.

Chesaning’s team members said they wanted to challenge themselves more this year. They set out to achieve all of the objectives in the game and were successful. Their robot collected the plastic game balls, placed a large gear onto a pin, climbed a rope and shot balls into a hoop.

One student said, “We had never built a climbing mechanism before.”

They demonstrated each of the game objectives for the school board.

The Chesaning team participated in two competitions. The first competition was at Kettering University, where it did well. The second competition was at Howell High School, where it placed sixth out of 40 teams.

Several members of the team are graduating this year, including Sincissen and Bila. Consequently, the team will need to recruit a lot of new students to continue next year.

Team advisor Bob Coon said, “Currently we have around 10 in the program. We are graduating five. Anyone interested is more than welcome.”

Generally, students are ninth through 12th graders.

During the meeting, Chesaning High School Principal Kim Vincke announced, “We’re starting a robotics class next year. We already have a lot of kids signed up.”

Big Rock Elementary School Principal Jill Nieman added the robot made a big impression at the elementary school’s science fair this year. There was a huge line of kids waiting their turn to drive the robot. One of the robotics team members commented some of the elementary school kids were pretty good at maneuvering the robot.

Chesaning school board vice president Brian Lewis commented, “These [students] built their own robot. They did a great job with what they had. These guys need some help getting to the next level.”

The robotics team advisors are Bob Coon and Steve Guzdial. Guzdial explained the students actually build their own robot. That’s not the case with some of the other teams. He mentioned Lewis was the only local engineer who stepped up to help the robotics team. Coon and Guzdial hope other engineers, machinists and others will get involved.

Superintendent Mike McGough added each year it costs the robotics team $5,000 to participate. That provides them with a basic kit of parts and two competitions. Coon explained they are allowed to use up to an additional $4,000 in parts, but services can be donated.

Sincissen commented a lot of robots are made from custom-made parts created on CNC machines. He explained the team had to bring in money from sponsors.

This year’s robotics team sponsors were Chesaning Union Schools, the Chesaning Education Association, Family & Pediatric Eye Care, Nexteer, FIRST of the Great Lakes Bay Region, Dr. Jeannine Hopfensperger DDS, Ace Hardware and SLH Metals.

Sponsors will also be needed for next year’s program. Those interested in helping the Chesaning robotics team, Gears of Fortune, can contact them at their website, www.Team5235.com.

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