Robotics teams to compete at state

 
Submitted by Our Lady of the Wayside School
Updated 1/2/2019 12:12 PM
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  • The WildBots, one of the three Our Lady of the Wayside robotics teams that will compete at the state level for FIRST Lego League competition.

    The WildBots, one of the three Our Lady of the Wayside robotics teams that will compete at the state level for FIRST Lego League competition. Courtesy of Our Lady of the Wayside School

  • MechaniCats, one of the three robotics teams from Our Lady of the Wayside School that will compete at the state FIRST Lego League competition.

    MechaniCats, one of the three robotics teams from Our Lady of the Wayside School that will compete at the state FIRST Lego League competition. Courtesy of Our Lady of the Wayside School

Our Lady of the Wayside School had five robotics teams compete in regional FIRST Lego League competitions the weekend of Dec. 17-18. Three teams qualified for the state tournament in January: The MechaniCats, who also won the Project Award; WildBots, who also won the Core Values Award; and Coding Cats, who are a rookie sixth-grade team.

This year's FIRST Lego League challenge is "Into Orbit." This is the third year in a row that at least one Our Lady of the Wayside Robotics Team has advanced to the state competition; MechaniCats competed last year at state.

The competition consists of four main parts: Table Performance, building and programming an EV3 robot to complete missions; Core Values, evaluating how a team works together; Robot Design, providing an explanation of robot design, programs and mission choices; and Project, identifying a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space explorations and creating a solution.

Each Robotics team interviewed Samantha Buehrer, Master Diver, at NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas. Then each team took a field trip and interviewed at least one other expert in their field as part of their research.

The projects and solutions for each team were: Wild Gears: Growing rooted vegetables in space using a cloning gel; Wild Bots: Improving plant growth with plant pillows by using temperature controlled Joule heating; RoboCats: Using virtual reality technology to reduce negative psychological effects of long term space travel; MechaniCats: Reducing spinal degeneration by using a newly designed space brace; Coding Cats: Reducing the amount of plastic trash in space by using milk casein to package foods and using sodium alginate/calcium chloride mixture to create packaging for food.

The teams worked on their projects since the beginning of the school year, meeting on Tuesdays after school and Saturday mornings. There are high school mentors from Saint Viator High School that help, as well as committed parents who share their engineering background to teach coding and engineering concepts.

The Robotics Team started five years ago as an Eagle Scout project from an Our Lady of the Wayside graduate. The Robotics Team is open to all Our Lady of the Wayside School middle school students. Our Lady of the Wayside School is one of the few grade schools in the area that has Robotics teams.

The coding and engineering skills that these students learn will prepare them to pursue a STEM-related career. There are a variety of core values of FIRST Lego League that are emphasized throughout the season: Working as a team, learning together, friendly competition and sharing experiences with others.

These values will help students in everything they do. It is Our Lady of the Wayside's hope that the Robotics Team inspires students through a blend of creativity, science and engineering.

Established in 1954, Our Lady of the Wayside School is dedicated to enriching students' minds, fostering a deep and meaningful faith in each child, and expanding their talents.

Our Lady of the Wayside School serves students in preschool through eighth grade by providing the highest quality education while motivating them to pursue academic excellence. Christian values, mutual respect and trust are emphasized for all students, teachers and families in all programs and activities.

More information about Our Lady of the Wayside can be found online at www.olwschool.org or by calling (847) 255-0050.

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