Team Marvel Robotics from Dorothy Lynas at the regional championship on Jan. 19.
Singing has helped a group of tech-savvy Dorothy Lynas Elementary students design an award-winning robot.
Headed to the provincial First Lego League Championship in Victoria on Feb. 16 are Grade 6 students Edna Manjarrez, India Newell, Rachelle Ng, Brooke Baker, Amy Crump and David Vennesland, who are enrolled in the school's French Immersion program.
For more than a year now, Edna's parents, Alberto and Euridice, have been coaching the Marvel Robotics team every Thursday and on Pro-D days.
The students participate in the FIRST LEGO League – a global program that introduces young students to STEM in a sporty atmosphere.
Students need to find a solution for a day-to-day problem that affects society as a whole. This year, the students tackled a challenge called City Shaper.
Using an online 3D modelling program, the Marvel Robotics team designed a house made from an ancient building material – adobe. These sun-dried mud bricks offer natural insulation, are durable yet biodegradable, and non-toxic.
In selecting the material, the students rationalized adobe can be used to create affordable housing that is also environmentally friendly. The students showed their research, gleaned from reliable sources, and a diorama of their proposal, including feasibility analyses.
"Even though all the team members have different personalities, they work together very well," says coach Euridice. "They help each other and support each other."
Yes, the Marvel Robotics team is competitive, but the students also make time to play.
"They have fun!" There is always time to relax, play with Max (Edna's dog) – and even sing. Yes, they all sing!" says Euridice.
The regional robotics qualifier was held on Jan. 19 at Meadowridge School in Maple Ridge. Dorothy Lynas was one of 32 teams competing to get to the championship in Victoria.
Immersed in a cheerful atmosphere at the tournament, the youngsters have to solve a tricky mission –created out of Lego – with the help of a robot.
The students research a given topic within a team, then program and test an autonomous robot to solve the mission.
After closing all the loops, Marvel Robotics soared to first place in the robot design/build category – and took third place in the robotics task challenge.
In a video captured by a Marvel Robotics' supporter, the students can be seen celebrating their big win.
Asked why they love robotics, the responses vary by student:
"Because it is cool!"
"Never imagined we could do that."
"It is very cool when you program the robot and boom – it works!
"I thought it was super difficult, but it is not."
Victoria will be very different from the competition in Maple Ridge, explains Euridice.
"The best teams in the province will be there and we can expect very fierce (and sportsmanship-like) competition on all the different components. The top place overall will be taking one of the spots to represent Canada on the international FLL stage – so you can imagine how excited the students are!"