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Robotics teams build on a bond Edina robotics team spends a weekend with GMR and Badger robotics teams

GMR Robotics team members, Edina Robotics team members, and FIRST Robotics representatives pose for a group photo on August 6 at DRB Fabrication just outside Greenbush. FIRST Robotics representatives and Edina Robotics team members came up for a weekend visit (August 4-6) to Greenbush to build on the bond they had created with both the GMR and Badger Robotics teams. They are (L-R): Brian Utter, Yoji Shimizu, Emily Tarala, Lauri Shimizu, Matt Mittag, Don Brekke, Morgan Sheehy, Simone Vaillancourt, Annie Snyder, Russ Anderson, Hannah Anderson, Casey Gram, Blake Dallager, and Mary Anderson. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

John Langaas (right), a 2017 GMR graduate and GMR Gators Robotics team member, talks with Badger Robotics driver Kaden Hietala (left) during a practice run of robots at DRB Fabrication on August 6. Both Gator Robotics teams and the Edina “Green Machine” Robotics teams all drove their robots in the practice arena. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Coming up from the Twin Cities, specifically Edina, Annie Snyder, a member on the Edina Robotics team, known as team #1816 or the “Green Machine,” thought her trip up to rural northwest Minnesota, specifically to Greenbush-Middle River, was going to involve seeing a bunch of farm fields and sitting around talking about robotics the whole time. It proved to be so much more for her than that.

“It’s really interesting to see the kind of different lifestyles,” Snyder said. “… I mean in a span of a day, I drove four different massively powerful vehicles and almost died several times and it was insanely fun, and I just didn’t expect any of it. And also the people here, I’m best friends with three people here now and it’s amazing.”

For one weekend, August 4-6, the Edina Robotics team, along with a couple  FIRST Robotics representatives, traveled up to Greenbush to better get to know two teams it had, for the most part, only seen at robotics competitions– the two Gator robotics teams of Greenbush-Middle River (team # 5172) and Badger (team #3750). The teams also used this weekend to help and learn from one another.

During the weekend, spending much of their time at the Russ and Mary Anderson property in rural Greenbush, the teams did group and hands-on exercises in areas such as brainstorming and team building. 

For example, they both discussed how to build a robot to perform specific tasks, and worked on strategizing, including deciding whether to build a more offensive or defensive robot, based on the 2006 FIRST Robotics game. They also engaged in some welding, helped one another develop mission statements, and developed their own group elevator speeches, where they were asked to tell people what FIRST Robotics and their team, specifically, was all about in 60 seconds.

The teams also test drove their robots in the practice arena at DRB Fabrication located in rural Greenbush on Sunday, August 6. Getting to drive with the GMR team in the past, Kaden Hietala, a driver and builder on the Badger Robotics team, enjoyed the opportunity to do more than just drive with two teams.

“It’s pretty cool getting to see how they (these teams) think and the ideas that they come up with,” Hietala said, “and they help us brainstorm plans to think about what to build before the season starts, so it was really awesome to get to learn all of this stuff this weekend.”

To see the complete story, read the August 16 issue of The Tribune in print or online. 

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