Dean Shipley Staff writer
December 28, 2013
A team of Madison-Plains Intermediate School students, fourth through sixth graders, took on a Lego Robotics challenge and performed well for a first-time team. In a competition held earlier this month at Wayne High School in Huber Heights, the team, Eagles Robotics, five boys and five girls, finished fifth of 24 teams in the FIRST® LEGO® League. They gave a presentation Tuesday evening, Dec. 17 to the Madison-Plains Board of Education (BOE).
The Madison-Plains team also won the Gracious Professionalism award, which is given to “a team whose members show each other and other teams respect at all times. They recognize that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible, on and off the playing field.”
Technology teacher Chris Rhoads, who served as advisor, said he was particularly proud of the Madison-Plains students for this display of cooperation and sportsmanship.
Spread out before the BOE was a 5 foot by 10 foot lightweight, portable board, on which the team’s robotic skills would perform its operations. It was created by the team for the competition. They built it from a kit. Its theme was “Nature’s Fury.” The “fury” the team chose was flooding.
Before the crew moved to the board, the 10 team members presented a skit, a TV news report on a flood in Miami, Fla. Each of the 10 team members spoke a portion of the presentation. Team members Katie LeGault and Sara Sampson co-wrote the skit and then auditioned the remainder of the team for the various parts.
Team member Rachel Weis, who co-wrote the program with Jerry Slagle in Educational Version of Lego’s EV3 Suite, said though they performed well in the competition, in practices arguments occurred. But from them came a willingness to work together for the good of the team and others.
Once the disaster-type was selected by the team, it launched into an extensive research project, Rhoads said. The team had to do all the work. The research proved valuable because it strengthened research and presentation skills he said.
Rhoads recapped how events unfolded at the actual competition.
He said the team performed well in the project and interviewing portions of the competition, which account for the majority of the points scored. The team had to demonstrate presentation and teamwork skills as well as knowledge of the Lego League Core Values during their interviews. During the robotics performance portion of the competition, they encountered several setbacks in the first two rounds, but for the third round regrouped and increased their score by 130 points from round two to round three. To put that in perspective, many teams did not earn 130 points in any round.
Madison-Plains alumna Kyle Phillips, now an engineering student at The Ohio State University, helped to mentor team.
“As the only team of its kind in our area, and the first team of its kind at Madison Plains, their accomplishment here is significant,” Phillips said in an e-mail.
It was Phillips’ own experience with robotics in her mechanical engineering studies which launched the team. Her younger brother, Owen and father, Tim, attended her robotics demonstration. Owen said he thought it was “cool” and that having a Legos robotics program in school. He filled out an application and it was accepted.
Phillips said The Eagle Robotics Team has already been recognized by Ohio State Engineering via their website publications and social media, as well as the Women in Engineering program at Ohio State via their social media and website publications.
“As the only team of its kind in our area, and the first team of its kind at Madison-Plains, their accomplishment here is significant,” Phillips said in an e-mail.
It was Phillips’ own experience with robotics which launched the team. Her younger brother, Owen and father, Tim, attended a robotics demonstration, in which Kyle was an exhibitor. From watching it, Owen thought having a team at school would be cool. He filled out an application and it was accepted. He served as team captain and facilitator, to make sure team members had what they needed to do their jobs.
When they return from holiday vacation, Weis said they will practice five afternoons after school to be ready for the next level of challenge in Huber Heights on Jan. 11-12.
The team members included the following:
• fourth graders: Pegasio Xenikis, Sam Rhoads, Katie LeGault, Andrew Geyer
• fifth graders: Jerry Slagle, alternate; Sara Sampson, Becky Grigsby, Rachel Weis
• sixth graders: Owen Phillips, Carly Massie, Gavin Jones, alternate; Joey Grigsby.