Friday, January 31, 2020

With Lego Robots, Middle Schoolers Are Solving Practical Problems

Nice article from The Pilot...

Elise Elite 02.jpg
Adrianna Sexton, Charley Ritter, Jordan Brower, Kayden Beard, Cara Rouse, Leslie Catalanavila and Lana Marley. The Elite Eight First Lego League at Elise Middle School in Robbins. -
If you think eighth graders are too old to be playing with Legos, don’t tell the students in the FIRST Lego League chapters hosted around Moore County School

For a group of girls at Elise Middle School, Legos open up a world of imagination that bears a strong resemblance to the real one. Through easily-assembled blocks, they create cities in miniature. In those cities, they experiment with architecture, infrastructure and robots to devise possible solutions to real-life issues of development.

But building robots was only half of this year’s First Lego League Challenge. For the second component, the Innovation Project, the “Elise Elite” looked within the walls of their school to find a problem to solve.

“After going over a couple of different ideas, we wanted to do something that would be helpful close to home for us,” said Charley Ritter, an eighth grader at Elise. “So we decided to do a project for the visually impaired, to make it easier to navigate around school.”
The resulting computer application, which they call “EarSight,” won the Innovative Solution Award at the N.C. First Lego League State Championship tournament at N.C. A&T State University on Jan. 19. Elise’s team qualified for the state tournament in a regional event at Harnett Central Middle School in November.Founded in 1989 to foster students’ interest in technology, the FIRST nonprofit now has chapters worldwide. Carrie Robledo, who works as a digital integration facilitator at Elise, advises the team that also includes Kayden Beard, Jordan Brower, Leslie Catalan Avila, Ashona Ingram, Lana Marley, Cara Rouse and Adriana Sexton.

FIRST issued this year’s challenge in early August, so the group started meeting to devise their project before the beginning of the school year. In the Innovation Project, they were charged with identifying a problem with a building or public utility in the community and designing a solution.
The Robbins town water system was one early idea, and the girls discussed the potential for a drone-powered package delivery system. But common sense indicated that technology might not hold improvements to every process.

“We thought about the suggestion of a drone delivery service, but as a group, we couldn’t wrap our heads around it,” Charley added. “Maybe it isn’t a good idea to have people’s medicines flying over rural parks.”ably going to shoot that drone down,” Kayden lamented.

Ultimately, they found a cause right under their noses in Canaan Smith, a visually-impaired seventh grader at Elise. Their goal was to help him be more self-sufficient around school with a system to help him check his location on campus.

That might seem like a daunting task for a group of middle school students, but most of the team have participated in robotics and computing clubs at Robbins Elementary for several years. So they knew what existing technology they could put to use.

Canaan’s everyday school iPad is equipped with a Braille display … and now, thanks to the Elise Elite, there’s an app especially for him.

The team set up QR codes on the door of every room at Elise linking to a video that explains what room it is, who teaches there and what subject.

“Another idea for the app, if we were to continue working on it in the future, was to use an earpiece and a touch sensor so that one tap will tell you where you are, two taps will repeat the directions, three taps will activate a microphone to listen for a command and holding it will get you extra help like notifying a nearby teacher,” said Charley.

“We want to incorporate everything to the point where it could hold a day-to-day schedule and not only tell you where you are but kind of lead you to the class you’re supposed to go to.”

Like most STEM projects, FIRST Lego League gets students to unleash their creativity using science, engineering and math to solve open-ended problems. The program emphasizes what it calls its six core values: discovery, innovation, impact, teamwork, inclusion and fun. With no adult assistance permitted in competition, teams at the state tournament from Moore County Schools pitched in to make sure that every presentation went smoothly.

“It wasn’t just our seven-person team. Highfalls has a team, and when we couldn’t figure something out on our robot, they were very helpful,” said Cara..."

Read the full story at its source:

Thursday, January 30, 2020

California middle school students heading overseas for robotics competition

MONROVIA, Calif. (KABC) -- A student robotics team from a Monrovia middle school is gearing up for an international competition.

The Hippie Bots at Clifton Middle School are heading overseas as the only team from the United States invited to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge Barcelona Championship. The students who make up the team will also be some of the youngest in the competition.

"We will be going against college students and as a middle school, it's amazing that we're going to be able to... have this opportunity and go against them," said Hippie Bots team member Guadalup Hilario.

The school started the program six years ago and has been building award-winning teams ever since, despite the fact that most of the students have no prior robotics training. From designing to building and programming, the Hippie Bots make their robot from the ground up, each team member assigned a different task that makes it come to life.

"It's kinda cool seeing it all come together and able to perform certain tasks," said team member Zachary Menlove. "It's kind of weird (to think) a robot could just, you program and build it, and just can do whatever you want."

The team even puts in hours after school and on weekends to make the best robot and in the process, they learn they can't do it alone.

"My favorite part of robotics is working together as a team and seeing us work together... I like to see that when we come together, we can get a lot of stuff accomplished," Hilario said.

The team is hoping that will include taking the top spot at the international championship next month in Spain. But, raising money for the trip has proven to be a challenge so a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Hippie Bots roll to victory.

Read the full story at its source: 

Monday, January 27, 2020

New, 'Next Level' Student Robots

One of a number of very interesting new bots on the block>>>

Click on YouTube logo for larger version...

Friday, January 17, 2020

Elementary School Students Reveal Lego Robotics Project

Source: Center for Digital Education

The Butler County, Ohio, project saw 5th and 6th graders presenting a project that uses Legos for robotics to show how county officials could better handle trains that pass through the area’s downtown.
by Michael D. Clark, Journal-News / January 15, 2020
(TNS) — A team of Hamilton elementary students’ project using Lego toys has earned the praise of city and county officials.

The “Urban Legends” teams of Brookwood Elementary 5th and 6th graders recently were invited to present their latest project – a form of robotics through Lego pieces – on how the Butler County city might better handle the trains that pass through downtown, occasionally causing traffic backups.

The nine-member STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) team – composed of five girls and four boys – impressed the officials during the students’ meeting with officials.

“It’s the first time we’ve had more girls than boys on the team,” said Brookwood speech therapist Kristie Bunger, who volunteers as co-coach of the after-school First Lego League she founded six years ago.

The students were invited to present their project, which involves using wireless communications, traffic signs and other devices to better alert drivers when freight trains are rolling through downtown Hamilton and blocking some streets.

Beyond the research and creation of a proposed plan, the twice-a-week team meetings are also serve as learning forums to enhance students’ cooperative and social interaction skills as well as adding to their knowledge and application of technology, said Bunger.

The team reached out to a mechanical engineer Miami University professor to aid them in putting together their project and other professionals in the community.

“It’s always good for kids to learn things outside their everyday education and let them get experiences with science and technology they wouldn’t come across in the general curriculum,” she said.Joni Copas, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, said “we always encourage and welcome our students learning from and collaborating with outside agencies, companies and local government officials.”

“The students enjoy hearing from the experts as they share their ideas with them which then help our students with their projects,” said Copas.

Fifth-grader Mackenzie O’Hara joined her school Lego team for the first time this school year and plans to be a part of it through her 6th grade.

“I love robotics so I thought this would fun to learn more about it and the type of engineering that comes along with it,” said O’Hara.
“I’ve always wanted to be an engineer,” she said.
©2020 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Very informative infographic from the producers of the KIBO robotics learning resources

...Illustrates the many learning purposes, goals, and impacts of robotics through the lens of fostering learning for young students...

Follow this link for full information and to download the full size infographic:

"Robots with emotional intelligence are on the way. Are we ready for them?"

Creator Bots - Another Promising Robotics-based Learning Resource for Students

Saw this one on FaceBook...

From the Creator Bots site:

"The perfect open-source robot for students to build and code themselves!

Creator Bots combine robotics, circuits,coding, and optional 3D printing!"