By News-Register staff • 

Mac High robotics teams to compete

McMinnville High School robotics teams will compete for the first time this weekend.

The FIRST Robotics competition will be similar to those in past years, but take place differently because of the pandemic. 

Instead of dozens of teams gathering in one spot, individual teams will videotape their robots performing tasks, then send the tapes to judges.

Teams can run their robots several times and send in their best performances, so “everyone is on the same playing field,” said adviser David Clauson, who teaches in Mac High’s EASA program.

The competition will give them practice in honesty and integrity, he said, as well as building and programming skills.

Robotics team members have been meeting in small groups after school since November to design, build and test their robots. The teams of 10 or 11 students also get together on Zoom on Mondays for planning sessions.

Being able to meet in-person is important in a number of ways, Clauson said. Students can practice communication and collaboration as they work together.

“The ability for a programmer and a mechanical engineer to work together is critical,” the teacher said, both in robotics’ competitions and in later life.

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