We were delighted with the incredible work that we saw from all the WLRC teams this year. Our overall winning teams and finalists all took it to the next level, and now that we have wrapped up one of our most exciting years of the Wonder League Robotics Competition, we wanted to highlight some additional teams that stood out with a couple of Honorable Mentions. We hope this will help to provide some inspiration for next year’s competition as well as some “a-ha” moments from all of us here at Wonder Workshop.
Drumroll, please …
Artistic Achievement: Team Ufoki’s underwater decorations bubbled with creativity. There was nothing that this team didn’t use in creating a world of their own. They sewed original outfits and creature tails, molded various sea critters, and ensured that their mysterious sea creature was as unique as their presentation. This team was fun to watch from start to finish and inspired all of us.
Inventive and Imaginative: Team Flying Pigs’ imaginations shone through in all that they did, including their presentation, their set design (which even had a sunken pirate ship!), and their well-crafted story. We learned a lot about their mysterious sea creature, the Cactapus, and we giggled our way through their whole presentation.
On-Point Producers: Team D.A.S.H-O showed a whole lot of dedication to their final mission and even created a website documenting their journey. After the production they put together, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this team taking on their local news channel! Watch out, CNN: Team D.A.S.H-O is coming for ya!
Mechanical Masterminds: Team Baby Sharks created a pulley device that aided in the delivery of the babies from their nest to their mysterious sea creature mom. The mechanism not only showed ingenuity but also made our team here at Wonder Workshop start to think about how to incorporate such things into future missions.
Collaborative Quintets: The RMS Coders showcased strong and clear teamwork, collaboration, planning, and problem-solving throughout their journey. The team illustrated their process from start to finish by talking it out with their audience during their panel interviews. They summed up the final mission perfectly by saying, “It takes a lot of tries to get one thing working, and nothing is impossible.”
Aspiring Authors: Team Purple Underscore has a bestseller or sitcom in their future with their dry sense of humor that clearly came out in their final presentation on the electric blobfish. They kept us in stitches throughout their presentation and had us rooting for them as they explored various attachment designs and new ways to overcome the accuracy and consistency challenges they faced.
Programming Pros: Team Be Bold might have even outsmarted their mysterious sea creature with their clever idea to use a forever loop at the end of their code to give Dash plenty of chances to get the eggs into the nest. And from what we could gather, it was a good thing they did, as it took well over 30 attempts to get those eggs to drop into their new home. Brilliant!
Outstandingly Organized: The Squid Squad had a well-structured final presentation that clearly showed that they mean business. They crossed their T’s and dotted their I’s with their Squid Squad website that displayed planning, reflection, curiosity, and exploration. They shared the origin of their artistic inspiration and gave us insight into the team members and why they loved being part of this year’s competition: creativity and friendship.
International Call Out …
We also wanted to share what China, Taiwan and Korea did this year. We had friends of Wonder Workshop help us create several local Wonder League Robotic Competitions for the second year. We could not have been more impressed at all that these teams did, many of which went on to submit into the global competition and ended up being some of the top finalists, including Team Dong Yuan from Taiwan who was the overall winner for the 6-8 age bracket. China had 106 teams participate, including Team Baby Blue Whale who placed as a top finalist in the 6-8 age bracket. Taiwan had 31 teams, and both Team Curiosity and Team Submarine No. 1 were finalists in the 9-11 age bracket. Korea had 236 teams participate. A special thanks to our friends at Marusys who hosted the winning ceremony for Korea’s top teams, including Team Hahn from the 12-14 age bracket.
There have been so many amazing examples of creative problem-solving with coding and robotics from all over the world this year. We can’t wait to see how this competition grows next year from all our international countries.
Some insights from the Wonder Workshop team …
We can’t say it enough — we continue to be so impressed by all the incredible work that we see our Wonder League teams doing. It makes our jobs both fun and challenging to determine each year’s winners, but here are some things we noticed among the final submissions.
What works in a team’s favor? Documentation. We can only evaluate what we see, read, or hear. The moments of failed attachments, the reflection, and the reasons to change this piece of the attachment or tweak that piece of code — all of this provides us as evaluators with insight into what your team is learning and exploring. We love hearing about the “why” and learning from teams about what did or didn’t work. It is within the “why” that you see the true magic happen; this is what good engineers, programmers, explorers, and designers are made of. It is that combination of grit, perseverance, and determination that is ultimately the secret sauce in a successful mission and team.
What makes our eyes widen? Creativity. Sure, you can solve the missions without it, and that’s a perfectly reasonable approach, but what can you do as a team that pushes the boundaries? How can you think outside the box and show us something that inspires more curiosity and innovation?
What melts our hearts? Authentic kid power. We don’t necessarily want the most polished presentation or bulletproof logbook. It’s more important for us to see that all the work was done by the teams themselves. Sure, help here and there is important when it helps teams learn something new and discover new tools and skills, but we love to see those little spelling errors and chicken-scratch drawings of prototypes and problem-solving efforts.
What makes it all come together? Collaboration and teamwork. We love seeing who contributed to what, and we love getting to know our teams better. Help us better understand your team dynamic, who brings what to the table, and what about this experience taught you something new about yourself or your team. If you are not part of a team, that is okay. We still want to see where you get your inspiration and ideas from, and how you pushed your own boundaries.
We are in awe of everything you’ve accomplished, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year. Congrats again, and don’t forget that you can register for Year 5 starting June 10th, 2019. We will be releasing a handful of mini-missions that you and your teams can use for summer training to prepare for what we hope will be the best year yet for the Wonder League!