Sunday, November 24, 2013
UPDATE For the first time, the Coleytown/Bedford Middle School Robotics Club sponsored two middle school teams to compete in the First Lego League (FLL) International Robotics Competition.
The Mechanical Masterminds and The Inventors of Pie both competed Saturday in the Greenwich qualifying tournament for the FLL at Greenwich Academy and each took home top honors. In addition, the Mechanical Masterminds advanced to the Connecticut State final.
The Mechanical Masterminds won the Robot Performance Award and the Research and Presentation Award. The Inventors of Pie won the Robotics Design Award.
In addition, Team SNAP, a privately organized and funded team of five Coleytown Middle Schoolers, also advanced to the state final in a competition in Shelton, winning the second place Championship Award and the Robot Performance Award. (See WestportNow Nov. 24, 2013)
More than 200,000 youngsters ages 9 to 16 from over 70 countries are competing around the globe on the topic of Nature’s Fury. Teams must solve a problem that requires research, creative thinking, teamwork, and robot programming skills.
Teams each design, build and program a robot, choose and research a natural disaster, and develop a solution to the natural disaster that will help mitigate future damage.
The Mechanical Masterminds chose to research and compete on the topic of coastal and riverine flooding in Westport in order to mitigate the impact of future flooding events on the town. Downtown Westport businesses and residents in low-lying coastal areas at and near Compo Beach and Saugatuck Shores are the target of the groups’ work.
“We chose to study Westport because it impacts our daily lives,” said Team Captain Rob Diorio, a seventh grader at CMS. “The solutions we came up with will help our local friends, families and businesses.”
“We could have picked a disaster anywhere, but it made sense to study what our town’s residents and businesses experienced during Hurricane Sandy and try to prevent that kind of damage from happening again.”
The team worked with Westport’s Director of Public Works, Steve Edwards, the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce, GenRe Insurance, an ecologist at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and local flood victims to develop two innovative solutions to protect the town’s homes and businesses most exposed to flooding.
The Inventors of Pie chose to research hurricanes and power outages in New York State as a means to prevent mass transit shutdowns that impact millions of people as they travel in and out of New York City to work and other daily activities.
The team also worked with four General Electric employees including two assistant chief security officers, a crisis management leader, and a security management leader and the Westport Public Library’s Teen Services Librarian, Jaina Lewis, to showcase the research project and robot to raise awareness of the FLL Competition and the impact of natural disasters on Westport citizens.
The Middle School Science Departments’ Robotics Club is led by Bedford Middle School Science teachers Daniel Cortright and Kim Matarese and Coleytown Middle School STEM Curriculum Director David Oestreicher.
The Robotics Club sponsors competition teams of up to 10 students per team but requires that each team have a committed parent coach. The teams meet once a week at Bedford Middle School and at least once a week in a parent’s home. The Middle School Robotics teams are part of the new middle school STEM curriculum.
“I know that the students, parents, and advisers of both groups are thrilled that each team succeeded at the qualifying tournament and we are very excited to have a team competing in the state finals,” said Oestreicher.
“We are committed to helping these students develop their 21st century skills as they mature and go on high school, college, graduate school, or other endeavors.”
The Connecticut State Championship will be held at Central Connecticut State University, New Britain on Sunday, Dec. 7.
According to the CT State FLL website, www.firstct.org, the team winning the first place Champion’s Award at the state final will have a chance to attend the World Festival.
The World Festival hosts about 85 robotics teams from around the world each year. It will take place April 23-26, 2014 in St. Louis, Mo.
Mechanical Mastermind team members include Coleytown Middle School seventh grade students, all age 12, Nick Ambrose, Rob Diorio (Team Captain), Nicholas Durkin, John McNab, Daniel Westphal, Andy Zhang and Josh Zheng and Bedford Middle School students Sunil Green, 13, eighth grade, and Justin Schmidt, 12, seventh grade, along with parent Coach Steve Diorio and Assistant Coach Mike Durkin and local business sponsor Logistics and Business Services Capital, LLC.
The Inventors of Pie team members include Bedford Middle School eighth graders Ethan Chin, Neal Soni, and Olivia Payne, all age 13, seventh graders Aniruddha Murali, Conrad Mann, Nicholas Daines, and Mari Sachs, all age 12, sixth graders Arushi Srivastava and Vignesh Kareddy, both age 11, and parent Coach Murali Narasimman.
Due to heavy interest from the students at Bedford Middle School, the Robotics Club formed the second team The Inventors of Pie in the middle of October in order to encourage students to participate in the FLL event.
Visit http://www.firstlegoleague.org/event/judging and http://www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge/2013naturesfury for specific information about the competition and the challenge.
Posted 11/24/13 at 03:12 PM
Not 1 but 4 teams from Westport in the State Robotics Championships. Wow!