With a group of Beloit Turner High School students cheering from the sidelines, several robots battled it out Tuesday in Courtney Fassel’s robotics class.

By the end of the lunch-hour activity, three robots remained after beating others into scrap. “Roxie,” “DaBaby” and “I Don’t Care” were each contenders for the championship.

“It’s really fun hanging out with everybody, seeing cars flip over,” said Mekhi Ott, a junior who is in Fassel’s class.

Senior and contest announcer Andrew Himmelmann added: “I’m just excited because you never know what’s going to happen. There’s upsets all the time. It’s anyone’s game.”

Fassel, who teaches robotics and engineering classes at Turner High School, said the recent science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) renovations to the building have been beneficial for students because of new classes and clubs on offer.

“They’ve really enjoyed it,” Fassel said. “It’s one of the best parts of their day, where they can get out of their seats. It’s nice to be able to have this room where we can expand our offerings.”

Fassel said she and her students are hoping to launch a robotics club next year.

Students began building their own battle bots two weeks ago, Fassel said. Prior to that, her class competed on a miniature race track as part of their curriculum.

There was also a virtual component to the battle bots unit, Fassel said, where students who are learning online from home can still take part by designing their own robots through tech ed programs and interact with their peers.

Fassel added that some of her students are so excited about building their own robots that they are willing to stay a couple of hours longer after school to keep working on their projects.

Some of the battle bots had flippers, while others used spinners to destroy their foes.

Senior Alex Cleaver built two robots and said he and his classmates each have their own ideas to bring to the arena.

Cleaver added that he enjoys spending time with his friends for hands-on projects.

The remote-controlled robots are made of metals, plastics and copper wire, with speed and durability in mind during the design process.

“I’m here to win,” Cleaver said.


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