CTRL+ALT+DESTROY Goes to Wadsworth

Meghan Braddy, Reporter

Griffith High School robotics team CTRL+ALT+DESTROY made their town very proud last year when they won the FTC (First Tech Challenge) State Championship and competed at the FTC World Championship for the first time ever in Detroit, Michigan. Along with those accomplishments, the team participated and created numerous outreach events throughout the season to promote the message of the FIRST organization and teach people about S.T.E.M in robotics amongst the members of their school and community.

This season, the team decided to organize an ongoing outreach event by fostering the first two elementary school robotics teams in Griffith: teams Out of Control and Under Control, a spin-off of CTRL+ALT+DESTROY. The teams operate out of Wadsworth Elementary School, with CTRL+ALT+DESTROY head coach Gracia Dudlicek coaching team Out of Control and Wadsworth Elementary School teacher Eric Steiner coaching team Under Control. Members of CTRL+ALT+DESTROY float to and from the two teams every week to guide them on their activities. 

Each team is made up of eight elementary school students from all three elementary schools in Griffith. Team Out of Control consists of kids from the ages of 6-8, and are allegedly the more energetic team because they are much younger and “out of control.” Team Under Control consists of kids from the ages of 8-10, the more calm team since the kids are older and “under control.” The elementary teams are a part of the FIRST organization and are working in a division named FLL Jr. (First Lego League Junior). 

The objective for FLL this year is “Boomtown Build.” The teams will be exploring the growing needs and challenges of the people in their community and help to imagine and create a building that solves a problem and makes life easier for the people that use it.The teams will be able to create imaginative buildings out of legos and learn basic block programming to move motors in their buildings by using the WeDo 2.0 programming application. Both teams will collaborate with their fellow teammates to use teamwork skills they’ve learned so far to brainstorm and build a structure that is both durable and accessible, while also being environmentally friendly. Each week, the teams have been getting their feet wet by building and programming small structures such as windmills and wheelchair accessible doors to prepare for when they make their final build. 

Senior Ryan Dudlicek, team captain of CTRL+ALT+DESTROY, said, “My favorite part about working with the kids is teaching them how to program motors on the buildings that they’ve created. Most of the kids have never been exposed to computer programming before, so it’s exciting when they make a program for the first time by themselves and it actually works. It’s important that they are being introduced to robotics in S.T.E.M at such a young age, because these kids are the future of the robotics program and will be the ones that come up in the middle and high school robotics programs.”

The elementary teams have their very first competition in November. At the competition, the teams will be giving an oral presentation to the judges about the building they built and programmed for Boomtown.  Each team will have created something different that they think will benefit Boomtown for the better. The teams will also be creating and presenting “Show Me” posters to display their innovative ideas they worked on all season, along with the engineering notebooks they used to record all of their building sketches.