Palm Desert Botball program gets new trophies, workshop

May 9th, 2013 | by Brett Kelman | Comments

A robotics program at a Palm Desert school continues to grow, and now their workshop will grow to match.

The Palm Desert Charter Middle School has returned from the annual Botball robotics tournament victorious once again.

Botball competitions require teams to build robots that can be programmed to accomplish different tasks – like collecting plastic balls and cups. The tournament for the Greater San Diego area, which includes the Coachella Valley, was held in early April.

Teams from Palm Desert Charter Middle scored fourth and fifth place overall, the highest of any middle school teams. This was the third year in a row that a team from Palm Desert Charter Middle placed in the top five competitors.

Check out these photos of Palm Desert Charter Middle students at the recent competition: (Photos courtesy of www.botball.org. Many more photos available at here.)

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The school also snagged first place in the double elimination competition and were given certificates for outstanding engineering, programming and overall design.

And they were THIS excited about it. (Check out that kid in the middle.)

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Currently, the school’s robotics program operates out of a normal-sized classroom, said Reginald Clark, a robotics teacher and Botball coach. With about 150 students in the program, the classroom doesn’t provide enough space to store all the robots and supplies, Clark said.

Fortunately, the Desert Sands Unified School District has plans to renovate the school’s old kitchen building – which was recently replaced by a new building – into a robotics lab. Cynthia Mcdaniel, assistant superintendent of business, said the district has pledged $50,000 for the project.

Architects had previously planned the project with a price tag of no less than $150,000, but the district could not provide that much money for the robotics lab. During a meeting at the school on May 1, McDaniel said she believed the district could get the job done for one third the price of the architect’s plans.

“It would have been much prettier I’m sure, but it would have cost a lot more,” McDaniel said.

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