DENISON STUDENTS, FACULTY GIVE LEGO ROBOTICS TEAM an ASSIST
The Granville Lego Robotics team got a big lift from Team Denison students and faculty.
Each August, the First Lego League (FLL) releases a real-world scientific challenge related to a problem like food, energy, and pollution. The kids must then complete three tasks: 1) design, build, and program a robot to perform specific missions, 2) research a topic related to the challenge, create an innovative solution, and develop a presentation and 3) consider how they demonstrate teamwork, “gracious professionalism,” and “coopertition,” and prepare a poster related to these FLL Core Values.
Denison biology professor Laura Romano said “This year, the theme was 'Animal Allies.' Our team received the official 4 x 8 foot “field set- up” upon which the kids had to assemble specific structures related to animal-human interactions, all made of LEGO.
“For the 1st task, the kids built and programmed a robot (using a Mindstorm EV3 kit) so that it could complete several specific tasks such as transporting a bee to its hive, and activating a “crosswalk” for a man and his service dog.
“For the 2nd task, the kids opted to study bats, learning about their general biology from an expert at OSU and their use of echolocation from Dr. Tom Schultz at Denison. They 'invented' a device that mimics the sounds emitted by certain moths to interfere with the echolocation of bats (and thereby, avoid predation); this device could be installed on homes to prevent bats from entering them (inspired by an existing problem at our home in Granville). They prepared a skit to describe their efforts with regard to this project.
“Finally, for the 3rd task, the kids prepared a poster with their reflections on how they demonstrated FLL Core Values.
“This year, we expanded our team from just five kids (in Fall 2015) to nine kids (in Fall 2016) to include six boys, three girls, ages 8-11, with a diversity of socioeconomic status and cultural background.
The team advanced to the district tournament that was held at OSU-Newark/COTC in January 2017. While the team did not advance to the state tournament, we were proud of the kids’ efforts noting that the team was one of the youngest (competing against teams consisting of 13 and 14-year olds)!
“Given this season’s theme, we recruited biology student Megan Stornes and her friend Emily Krumpe to define “animal” and have the kids brainstorm the different ways in which animals and humans interact. A few weeks later, we asked math/computer science students Maddie Boster and Haley Nugent to visit a team meeting for ideas related to programming the robot. And near the end of the season, we recruited communication students Alina Panek and Jack White Jr. to provide critical feedback on the kids’ skit before attending the first tournament.
“We hope to continue collaborating with undergraduate students, perhaps even recruiting one or two to have an extended role as an official “Mentor” (assisting the Coach) in Fall 2017.”