Elementary School Students Dare to Dream

Congratulations to the Robotic Bears FIRST LEGO League Team! What a spectacular time everyone
had at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) tournament, Robopalooza, last Saturday, January 10, 2015. The event coordinators, the Cornerstone School in conjunction with Forest High School, were host to over 20 FLL teams and ensured that all participants left with a sense of accomplishment. Hammett L. Bowen, Jr. Elementary School’s Robotic Bears took first place in the research category and brought home the award. GO BEARS!

Beginning in September, the team has been working hard to complete the World Class Lego challenge. FLL challenges have two components: a project and a game. The project piece asks students to think about a problem and create an innovative solution for it. Using the engineering design process, the Robotic Bears looked at how students could learn directions, i.e.: north, south, etc.…, while safely riding a bike; their innovation, the UNHoP (Ultimate Navigational Helmet of Power) was born. The UNHoP is a bike helmet with a built-in audio app which not only provides a child with his or her direction, but informs a parent of the child’s location through a GPS.

In the robotic Challenge, students programmed an autonomous robot to score points on a themed
playing field (Robot Game). Without the help of Ursula M. Schwuttke,  director of educational outreach at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, and Sam Ajlani, program director of Engineering Technology, Business, Technology and Workforce at the College of Central Florida, we would not have been able to compete. Ursula talked her colleagues into loaning the Bears two of IHMC’s robots and Sam unexpectedly called to offer his programming support.

I am so incredibly honored to be a part of the educational community of Marion County. Experiencing the County’s public schools, private schools, colleges, and the private sector supporting our children’s dreams makes it ever so possible for them to dream the impossible. To watch a video clip of the competition visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6ums9UiZA8. For more information contact Michelle Whipple, techer of the gifted program at Hammett Bower, Jr. Elementary School at 352.291.7900 ext.50339.

Contributed by:
Michelle Whipple
Teacher of the Gifted
Hammett Bowen, Jr. Elementary

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