2018-01-11 / News

Local squads to test their mettle at Lego championships


The Bubbly Coyotes at the FIRST Lego League game board during the Dec. 10 qualifying tournament at All Saints Academy in Portsmouth. The team, which finished in second place, is represented by Lawn School students Natalie Clow, Zach DiBiase, Vivian Flaherty, Quinn O’Connell, Sean Roberts and Sophia Tikolan. The Bubbly Coyotes at the FIRST Lego League game board during the Dec. 10 qualifying tournament at All Saints Academy in Portsmouth. The team, which finished in second place, is represented by Lawn School students Natalie Clow, Zach DiBiase, Vivian Flaherty, Quinn O’Connell, Sean Roberts and Sophia Tikolan. Forty teams from across Rhode Island will compete for the FIRST Lego League state championship Saturday, including 24 students representing four teams from Jamestown.

The Bubbly Coyotes, System Overdrive, Aquabots and Jamestown Robowolves qualified for the competition at Roger Williams University following meets in December.

Among those performances, The Bubbly Coyotes won second place at Middletown’s All Saints Academy. The Robowolves, the 2015-16 state champions, captured the top prize for robot performance at the Gordon School tournament in East Providence.

The Lego league, founded in 1998, is an international robotics program for elementary students and high school freshmen between the ages of 9-14. Teams use the Lego Mindstorms kit to build robots that score points on a game field, which includes obstacles related to an annual theme. The 2017-18 theme is hydrodynamics, a branch of physics that deals with the motion of fluids.

Teams, along with building a robot to complete the missions, are tasked with researching the topic. For hydrodynamics, students learned about the methods used by communities to find, transport, use and dispose of water. They then identify a problem with that process and create an innovation solution.

“Teams focus on real world problems,” said Rebekah Gendron, president of Rhode Island Students of the Future, the nonprofit organization that manages the Lego league in the Ocean State. “They are encouraged to meet with professionals to learn about current practice and solutions. The teams are learning to conduct interviews, do research, create innovative solutions, and present their findings in public. These are all skills that are important to creating strong communities.”

Judges at the state championship evaluate students on their research projects, robot designs and core values, which includes teamwork and sportsmanship. They also are scored for their performances on the game board.

While there are awards in every category, the team that does the best across the board wins the champion’s award and an invitation to compete alongside teams from around the globe at April’s world festival in Detroit. Students on the top team each also receive a $20,000 scholarship to Roger Williams University.

Three of the four Jamestown teams represent Lawn School.

The Bubbly Coyotes are Natalie Clow, Zach DiBiase, Vivian Flaherty, Quinn O’Connell, Sean Roberts and Sophia Tikolan. They are coached by Ellen Bednarczyk, Furhana DiBiase and Jack Hubbard.

The Aquabots, coached by Don Dambrosio, Erin Escher and Josh Lentz, are comprised of Sam Grelle, Dylan Delessio, Caleb Yull, Declan Mollis, Kamea Escher, Jacob Lentz and Eve Dambrosio.

System Overdrive is Tabatha Gooding, Aidan Lynch, Kaliel Soya, Cassidy Lineberry, Colby Engberg, Reagan Donnelly and Madison Donnelly. Their coaches are Deborah Casey and Brenda Soya.

The fourth team, the Jamestown Robowolves, are a neighborhood team coached by Dory Street’s Michael Junge. Although the Robowolves are not affiliated to Lawn, all four teammates are connected to the school. Eva Junge currently is an eighth-grader there while the other three members, Ella Junge, Charles Elsworth and Audrey Raupp, are high school freshmen who graduated from Lawn in the spring.

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