Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 17, 2018
LEGO Robotics Club meets gold standard at first meet
Rosalie Bayley, left, and Quinlan Larrabee adjust their Lego robotic package deliverer at Explorations Learning Center in Deer Isle.
by Anne Berleant
Turning a much loved and popular children’s toy into a feat of engineering and programming is at the heart of LEGO robotics, and a group of 7- to 14-year-olds dug in this spring, under the guidance of Torri Robbins in a partnership between Explorations Learning Center and Ready By 21 Mentoring.
The young club came out winners at a recent Maine LEGO Robotics Track Meet in Ellsworth, with the four robots ELC brought to the meet meeting the performance gold standard, an achievement that tested the young engineers’ patience.
“As we built, we kept testing to see if it reached the performance standard,” said ELC teacher Melissa Bayley. At times, the students would have to undo two or three weeks of work to fix a step done incorrectly.
“They learned compromise, sharing, patience,” she added. “It was impressive.”
Fourth grader Marcus Legere of Sedgwick took first in the strongest robot category, pulling 60 pounds a distance of two feet in 4.33 seconds.
“Yay!” Legere said, as his trophy sat on the snack table at Explorations Learning Center as the dozen children started their last school-year session.
Stonington student Sam Robbins programmed the Bottle Sumo, a robot that uses sensors to locate and then clear soda cans off a surface. Rosalie Bayley and Quinlan Larrabee designed a robot that would deliver a package to a specified location.
“The camaraderie, the way everyone was accepted and everyone helped out, showed real team work,” Bayley said.
With financial help from the Island Education Foundation and individuals, Island LEGO Robotics plans to sponsor family build sessions this summer, and then another round of club sessions will start in the fall.
The students will show their LEGO robots in action at the Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School STREAM night, Thursday, May 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.