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Sept. 30, 2020

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Woodland High School students win Inspire Award for robot work

The Columbian
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WOODLAND: The Beaver Bots' Inspire Award qualified them to participate in state finals.
WOODLAND: The Beaver Bots' Inspire Award qualified them to participate in state finals. Photo Gallery

WOODLAND — Woodland High School’s robotics team, the Beaver Bots, competed against 140 teams in the Watt Interleagues on Jan. 12 at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, where they won third place in both Design and Inspire Award. Thirty-six teams then advanced to state championships held on Jan. 26 in Kent, where the Beaver Bots placed 35th. The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, robotics competition is a yearlong season with a different theme and list of specifications of what parts teams can use to build their robots. This season’s theme was Skystone. In a timed match of 2 1/2 minutes, teams had to program their robots to travel autonomously from a starting point to pick up building materials, blocks called “stones,” and then transport the blocks to a building area. At the competition, teams form an alliance with a second team for five matches. “The focus on changing teamwork creates a dynamic where teams are constantly analyzing all of the teams’ robots to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each,” science teacher Elizabeth Talvitie, who volunteered to coach the team three years ago, said in a news release. The Beaver Bots won an Inspire Award for their work on their Engineering Notebook, with judges focusing on their plan for the future. Ruby Heidgerken, a junior who has been participating with Woodland Public Schools’ robotics programs since seventh grade, encourages students to get involved with computer programming as early as possible. “Learning coding is huge when you’re young because so many industries depend on it,” she said in the release. “One of the reasons for the outreach program is to teach people about STEM and how vital it is to prepare for life after high school.” For those interested in supporting the Beaver Bots, email