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A Win for the Wolf Warriors, and K-8 Robotics in Review

A Win for the Wolf Warriors, and K-8 Robotics in Review

Bloomfield Hills Schools is proud to have over 35 different robotics teams across the district. Each year, coaches and students come together to tackle real-world problems using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts and methods to discover innovative solutions. An Eastover Elementary team, the Wolf Warriors, took this challenge all the way to the state competition, winning a second place award in robot design!

The Wolf Warriors team is made up of eight fourth grade students, two coaches, and a village of support. Team members Katie Acheson, Colette Angle, Talia Cengeri, Sophia Glynn, Amelia Logan, Josephine Schmidt, Riley Spike, Grace Zhou, and coaches Stephen Cengari and Carrie Glynn are a cohesive group who worked together to achieve their impressive win. The team had three objectives for the season: devise an innovation project, build a robot that accomplishes certain tasks, and learn and incorporate the core values of the First Lego League (FLL).

When contemplating  an idea for the innovation project, the team considered suggestions from all of the teammates. Each teammate listed their interest, then they narrowed the list down to a few choices, and finally, they voted. The winning idea was to use pets to help people. “Frank” is the emotional and health support robotic dog the team developed, complete with an eye and touch sensor. The team consulted a robotic animal industry expert as well as a handler of a therapy dog to gain insight. They asked a teammate’s parent to sew the “fur” and dedicated the animal to a teammate's family member who, due to health conditions, cannot be with their own dog named Frank. 

The competition component required the team to work together to design a robot and code instructions for it to accomplish FLL missions. The team felt their coding skills improved quite a bit while working on the robot. Parents of the team members got involved in learning coding as well so they could assist when needed. Parents also supported the team in many ways for their long hours of creative inventing.

Team coaches must present and teach the FLL core values. Glynn explains, “We went over one core value every week and played a game or did an activity to drill down to what the core value was and how they can apply that to robotics and everyday life.” These games allowed the girls to learn about each other and encouraged teamwork. All of the team members expressed their ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively as a result of the activities.

The Wolf Warriors team is one to watch! They worked well together, produced innovative ideas, and overcame challenges which led to an amazing season. Colette Angle summed up the highlights of the season, “...when something you think is going to work and it doesn't, and then at the end it all works out, and it's so surprising… it turns out to be something fantastic.” When asked what their goals are for next season, the team agrees: advance to the World Competition!

Robotics Highlights Across the District

The 2nd grade team from Conant, 6 Moustached Engineers, started out learning simplified picture coding and built a car. They learned the difference between turning the vehicle 90 degrees vs 90 seconds vs 90 wheel rotations vs 90 centimeters. Along the way, the kids ran into an issue but problem-solved ways to fix it by learning and mastering difficult coding. They were able to make the car follow both a straight line, and turn, and it was so rewarding for them to engineer their way to an operable car. 

Eastover’s 5th grade robotics team, Brick 51, worked hard to code, test, and recode their robot. After seeing all their hard work pay off in the competition, an amazing experience they'll take with them for a long time, the kids are eager to continue on the middle school team next year.  

Six Eastover students from grade 3 made up the Brick Builders team. They each learned about coding, all had an opportunity to code in the app, and had individual approaches for the project presented at the Bloomfield Bash. They expressed themselves creatively both in building with blocks and in completing the project display board.

The 6th, 7th and 8th grade South Hills Coding Cobras achieved many accolades this season including: winning the MI Lake Orion qualifiers, 1st runner up in design award at MI Hartland qualifier, 2nd runner up in Think Award at Lake Orion qualifier, advancing to MI State championship, and visiting Brilliant Detroit and spreading the message of STEM.

The 4th and 5th grade Dancing Robots on the Moon team from Conant collaborated on and delegated a wide variety of tasks. They designed a team logo to attach to their robot design and worked together on decorating their trifold board. The team made difficult compromises despite all having strong opinions. The first time robotics league participants took the lead on programming the robot to maximize their learning experience.  

The Eagle Engineers, represented by Eastover Elementary second graders, worked hard to memorize and understand their FIRST LEGO League Core Values:  Discovery, Innovation, Inclusion, Impact, Teamwork, and Fun. Earning the Core Values award at the Bloomfield Bash was the highlight of their season!

The FLL team #3646, Great Engineering Kids of Tomorrow (G.E.K.O.T.), includes Eastover students from grades 3, 4, and 5. The team advanced to the State Finals competition where their robot placed 9th overall. The event judges were amazed by the team's prototype innovation to make a magic carpet fly! 

IntergalacTECH, a rookie team, placed second in FTC Rochester Qualifiers (5-0; 3rd alliance captain). The 6-8th grade team from North Hills went on to compete at States in the Curie tournament.

All the kids from the Lightning Bots team had a blast! During the season, the Way Elementary second graders learned how to work with each other, learned to code and program, used their imagination to create their prototypes, and learned how to communicate and show off their projects. They received the coding award at their competition.

3rd Grade student team, Lights, Camera, Action Coders, from Conant absolutely loved heading to Bloomfield Hills High School this year and working with Danielle Tier and the students in the TV station. They also toured the radio station. It was a great opportunity for them to see how the arts and technology collide to create a "Masterpiece." They had so much fun working with the green screen and being on the afternoon announcements! 

The Mechanical Monkeys from South Hills had a great season this year.  In their second year together, they learned a lot while competing. The kids really enjoyed their participation in the community this year, showcasing their robot to the scouts, the elementary school kids, and a school for kids with learning disabilities. The team also grew by acquiring new members.

The rookie team from North Hills, No Limits, representing grades 6-8, learned to work together with new friends, continuously improved their designs, persisting until they worked, and fixed breakdowns quickly at tournaments, showing quick mindedness and grit. They qualified for the State Tournament, which was a great and intense weekend.

The 7th grade South Hills Purple Protons’ season highlights were achieving a Judges Choice Award, Motivate Award runner-up, and 3rd place Innovate Award.

The fifth grade, all girls team from Way, the Reading Wizards, had a fantastic season. The team innovated a resource for teachers to use to help kids find their next book. At competition they were honored to receive the Breakthrough Award. They presented their award to Principal Fiebke-Lang to showcase the trophy. 

2023 marked the third year for the Robonauts, a group of third grade students from Conant and Lone Pine. This year, the Robonauts explored team building processes, creative ways to solve problems, and solutions for inclusion. They especially excelled at incorporating each individual team member into the build and team poster with personalized minifigures. 

Robotic Racers, a group of six 2nd graders from Lone Pine, enjoyed a great experience on their journey learning the basics of programming, motors, gears, and teamwork.  The highlight was the bash at the end of the season where the team got to build and present a project that they created. The team created Lego Liberty which was a model of the statue of liberty that spun around using a motor and gears and had a light that was programmed to change color over time. 

The Lone Pine Techno Bananas loved the 2023 theme of "Masterpiece" (creating and communicating art) and were able to showcase an entire movie script, a multi-tiered skatepark, a healing garden, a hairdressing and rock band stage, as well as a rotating musical carousel! Our six person team did this all while improving their presentation and communication skills.

This year was the first time experiencing robotics for most of the students and parents involved with the Lone Pine 5th grade team, the Techno Bulldogs. A major highlight was how hard the students worked and the perseverance they demonstrated throughout the season.

The TechnoHawks were a 5th grade team from Conant. The team competed at the Troy Sharkfest and took second place overall in Robot Performance, along with having the single highest scoring run of any team all day. The kids were incredibly proud of how hard they worked on their robot and how well it performed at the tournament.

The Techno Tie-Dye Tacos from Lone Pine won second place overall in the Core Values scoring at Troy High School's Sharkfest and qualified for a state championship. This completely rookie team of four fourth grade and two fifth grade students learned an immense amount throughout the season and were surprised to see how much their hard work paid off!

The South Hills team, Tech Titans, which includes 6th grade students and one 7th grade student, enjoyed the robotics tournaments. The students got to see all their hard work in action.

Way’s 4th Grade team, Way-Go Masters, loved getting to know team members while learning skills to build and program a robot that was able to successfully complete missions at the regional tournament.  

Wonder Brick is made up of 3rd grade Eastover students who won the coding award at the Bloomfield Bash. Their robotics season was a great success, verified by every student who said they want to sign up for the same team next year with the same coaches.