Published on
Apr 5, 2023

Written by Em Williams and Jill Marconi  

Photographs by Marvin Smith  

The Ohio Space Grant Consortium hosted a VEX IQ Robotics competition at the Ohio Aerospace Institute on February 24, 2023. Twenty-nine elementary and middle teams competed in the event. This year’s VEX IQ game theme was titled, Slap Shot. By meeting the minimum requirement of having at least twenty-five teams in attendance, the winners of the tournament qualified to move on to the state competition held on March 11, 2023. 

The student-led teams brainstormed, designed, built, programmed, and performed troubleshooting on their robotic vehicles to compete both in a skills-based course and qualifying competition. Optionally, students could submit team engineering journals which were graded based on organization, documentation, and following the engineering design process. 

In addition to the robotics portion of the day, student teams were presented with a biomimicry challenge.  Each team was given a of packet of supplies and asked to create a shelter to protect an astronaut on the moon.  Students were encouraged to look to nature for a possible solution for keeping their astronauts from the extreme temperatures.  The supply packets included an article about how animals survive temperature extremes to help students brainstorm ideas.  A 3D printed trophy for the best shelter with a biomimicry component was awarded. 

This event included a surprise visit by former Cleveland Browns and current Tennessee Titans quarterback, Joshua Dobbs.  Mr. Dobbs spoke to the students about his career in STEM as an aerospace engineer, as well as his career as an NFL player. 

After careful deliberation by the judges, trophies were awarded to the winners.   
Awards given included:  two Excellence awards, (one each to the top elementary and top middle school age groups), two Judges awards, and one design award.  All trophies were autographed by Josh Dobbs! 

The Ohio Space Grant Consortium looks forward to hosting additional VEX competitions in the future. One possibility being considered is hosting a high school VEX VR tournament.