Fiello Revamps Robotics

The Claremont Robotics Competition brings teamwork into focus this year more than in years past, making the competition easier and more enjoyable for many participants. The increase in teamwork results from some minor problems with teamwork last year. The team leaders of each team and adviser, Ms. Fiello, wanted to concentrate more on the teamwork aspect of the competition. One participant, CHS junior Tammi Ho, was happy with the changes brought to the system.
Ho thought that teamwork was important enough that it should be graded in a competition meant for coding robots because teams did not mesh well last year.
“The mishaps occured because my team was big enough that not everyone would have an even amount of work,” Ho said.
There were people who did challenging work with the team and others who were given busy work because they were not as willing to be compatible team members. The weight put on teamwork will help more team members emerge as capable of thinking in a group. Ho’s team was not the only one experiencing problems.
“I heard from other teams that there were some problems with teamwork because of team size,” Ho said.
She and a friend who led her team reported this to the adviser, Ms. Fiello, who then brought about the change in grading and increased focus on teamwork.
One may think that the increased fixation on teamwork would take away from the robotics aspect of the competition. However, Ho said that as she and her team got used to each other, they were aware of how others would contribute to the project throughout the competition.
The team awareness attained in the first meetings led to more focus on robotics in the later meetings, so Ho was able to focus on robotics throughout the program as well as help other team members get work done. After all, the purpose of the teamwork aspect of the competition is to efficiently create a working robot. Although more weight was put on teamwork this year than others, Ho said it was still only there to support robotics.
“Teamwork was definitely second to robotics because of how well we had to work with others anyway, before the change in grading,” Ho said.
Ho has done robotics for two years — one year with each scoring system in the competition, and she prefers the newer, more teamwork-based system. She likes this year’s grading scale because it is easier to get points in the compition than it was last year, although last year’s competition was not too difficult.
The new and improved Claremont Robotics Competition proves friendlier for everyone involved than it was in the past. The teams are able to work more effectively thanks to the advisor, Ms. Fiello’s, changes in the competition and the communication of participants such as Ho. Also, teamwork acts as the supporter to robotics, which is still the main focus of the competition.
In the future, this popular activity will achieve its goal as a means of learning robotics as well as exist as a healthy learning environment, nurturing teamwork as an essential component of the competition.