Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2TrainRobotics, Morris High School’s Student Robotics Team, Rules!



Members of 2Train at NYC FIRST Robotics Competition at NYC Regional (photo Gary Israel)

WEEKDAY MAGAZINE – 2TrainRobotics, Morris High School’s Student Robotics Team, Rules!


By Mark Gura
Kids growing up in the South Bronx often come to think of STEM-based careers as belonging to a world out of reach. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, subjects to which students at schools like Morris High School can have a hard time relating. Still, beginning in 1999 and currently going stronger than ever, Morris has had a student robotics team (NYC’s first), that offers students an extraordinary STEM learning opportunity. The team, 2TrainRobotics, has been a force to contend with; bursting with adolescent energy, determination, and unquenchable thirst to learn and compete.


For a student robotics team to have emerged in a hard scrabble, inner city neighborhood, and from a school that some considered at one time to be the Bronx’s “school of last resort” is truly a miraculous thing. And 2Train is a winning team; not only in competitions, but earning the unflagging admiration of its community, The Bronx.


2Train students have graduated from Morris at a rate of 100%. They’ve gone on to prestigious universities and a number are now employed in the engineering fields. 
The team influences a good number of Morris High School’s 1,600 student population who follow its activities with pride and keen interest. 

FIRST Robotics Competition
The team competes in the annual FIRST Robotics competition. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is the international organization that has helped shape Student Robotics, a 21st century hybrid of a STEM Learning, passion inducing activity, and sport of the mind for young people. 
Its website states that “Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. Every participant is eligible to apply for millions of dollars in college scholarships.”


The team has traveled to Florida; Texas; Georgia; Virginia; Canada, New Jersey; Missouri; and Rochester NY to compete and has participated in many community events, becoming a neighborhood institution. Numerous community leaders, including the Bronx Borough President, Bronx Congressman, and local Assemblymen have acknowledged the team for its contributions.

Robots AND People!
One of the team’s fortunate strengths has been the volunteer efforts of qualified and highly dedicated adults; some are Morris High School staff, for others their only connection to the school has been their work with the team.


Gary Israel, former Morris teacher, has been the Team Coordinator since its beginning. Bob Stark, manager of the Columbia University lab where the team meets and works, has been the team’s main mechanical engineering mentor for 18 years. Paul Lucian, an engineer with the Port Authority of NY & NJ has been with the team for 14 years. He is the coach out on the field during competitions. Further there is an ongoing group of Columbia students who give their time to mentor Morris students.


Another great piece of good fortune for the team has been its ongoing relationship with Columbia University. Morris High simply didn’t have a sufficiently equipped available place for the team to construct a robot. The willingness of Columbia to make their lab available was a godsend. Importantly, Columbia students mentor the Morris kids who benefit greatly by experiencing a university campus.


The team meets at the lab 5-7 times a week during the robotics season in which it plans, builds, programs and competes in public events with its robot. During the rest of the year the team prepares and develops its members ‘skills and character.




Support
The team has received financial support from the Bloomberg Foundation, S&P Global, Columbia University, and The Port Authority of NY & NJ, as well as The NY Yankees, enabling it to travel around the country to compete.

Paying it Forward
One exceptional example of how involvement in 2Train enriches students’ lives is Reuben Bridges. Not only did his participation positively impact his success as a student, but after graduating, Reuben became a robotics teacher at a Bronx YMCA. He has remained active with 2Train, and became a team mentor himself.


2TrainRobotics plans to continue to compete around the country as ambassadors of the Bronx. But it’s also interested in expanding its reach and further developing STEM learning opportunities everywhere. 
For the past few years 2Train has reached out to schools that don’t have robotics programs of their own, including some of their students. Further, 2Train members mentor elementary and middle school teams throughout New York City.
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Mark Gura is the former Director of Instructional Technology of the NYC Department of Education and currently is an adjunct professor at New York Institute of Technology and Touro College, teaching graduate Education students who focus on Instructional Technology. He blogs @  http://classroomrobotics.blogspot.com/ and  https://markgura.blogspot.com/

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Revolutionising the Way Kids Learn: Robotics, Learning by Doing




Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Reading, wRiting, and... Robots for Effective K-12 STEM Learning




Twenty-six middle school students from the Alvord Unified School District gathered at Riverside’s Arizona Middle School on Wednesday afternoon, April 11, to showcase their robot creations.

The robotics demonstration was staged for National Robotics Week and drew students from all four Alvord middle schools, district spokeswoman Cynthia Shipley said. Using the concept of artificial intelligence, all students customized their robots, Shipley said.


Loma Vista Middle School student Estrella Del Carmen, left, controls Lucky the robot as classmate Madison Iglesias robots stops it from going off the table...during an event for National Robotics Week at Arizona Middle School in Riverside.Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG

The event aimed to raise awareness about the importance of an education in science, technology, engineering and math, often called STEM classes. Alvord serves students in the western Riverside area and  part of northeastern Corona.

Read the full article at its source:  https://www.pe.com/2018/04/12/riverside-middle-school-students-design-robots-for-national-robotics-week-showcase/

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Morris High School (Bronx) FIRST Robotics Team "2Train Robotics" Finishes Their 19th Robotics Season Reaching the Semi-Finals in NYC Competition

Sent to me by my friend, Gary Israel.... 

Dear Friends of 2Train,

This past weekend the Morris H.S Campus/CSS Robotics team #395 aka 2Train Robotics competed with 50 other FIRST Robotics teams from New York, Brazil, China, Turkey and the United Kingdom at the FIRST® New York City Regional Competition & Expo at the NYC Armory Track and Field Center.
After two grueling days of competition the team finished the qualifying matches in 12th place making it to the playoffs before losing in the semifinals. The team also received the Team Spirit Award which "celebrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit through exceptional partnership and teamwork". See photos below

Two weeks ago the Morris H.S Campus/CSS FIRST Robotics team competed in the 2018 Hudson Valley Regional in Suffern NY finishing the qualifying matches in 9th place making it to the playoffs before losing in the quarterfinals.

I couldn't be any prouder of this group of students!

Warm regards,
Gary
PS. Please register online for next year's 20th Anniversary Celebration of 2Train Robotics! www.2train395.com
FIRST® New York City Regional Competition & Expo at the NYC Armory Track and Field Center
Members of 2Train at NYC FIRST Robotics Competition at NYC Regional
2018 Team Spirit Award
New York City Regional
Members of 2Train at NYC FIRST Robotics Competition at Hudson Valley Regional
Team working on robot in the pits
Dean Kamen founder of FIRST Robotics
speaking to the students from the Renaissance Youth Center
Gary Axelbank, host of "Bronx Talk and creator and publisher of thisistheBronX,
We are very grateful to our sponsors for supporting Team 395:
Please register online for next year's 20th Anniversary Celebration of 2Train Robotics! www.2train395.com

Your School Should Start A LEGO Robotics Team!






“Start a FIRST LEGO League Team

FIRST LEGO League gives elementary and middle school students and their adult coaches the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem. Challenged to research a real-world problem, then create an original solution for that problem, plus design and build a robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® kit within a common set of rules to accomplish “missions” on a playing field, brings out the best in students and adults alike. The theme changes each season, requiring teams to be extraordinarily creative.



FIRST redefines “winning” by rewarding teams for achievements not necessarily gained on the field of play − excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, Gracious Professionalism®, community outreach, and more are recognized with awards. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.
If you would like to start a FIRST LEGO League team in your area, we welcome you and promise to provide you with all the support, ideas, and encouragement you need to succeed!
Remember: NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED AND YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!...”



For the “6 essential steps to starting a FIRST LEGO League team” go to:
https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/start-a-team

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!