What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?
Robotics fast becoming the fourth R at R.L. Beattie Public School
Robotics is fast becoming the fourth R at R.L. Beattie Public School in Sudbury, right up there with reading, writing and arithmetic.
When Grade 5 and 6 students were invited to try out for competitive robotics last fall, interest was so high that two teams were formed. It was a sign that the new Robotics Club for students in Grades 4 to 6 would be as popular as the many other after school opportunities from basketball to chess.
“This is the first time that our school has offered an intramural Robotics Club and we average about 70 students a week,” says Principal Kelly McCauley. “We were thrilled to see the level of engagement, enthusiasm and energy for the after-school activity.”
The new Robotics Club is hosted by Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School teachers Dave Winsa, Jennifer Peloso and Christopher Peloso. LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 kits are used to bring the robots to life in a creative atmosphere that is focused and fun.
“Some students in the Robotics Club may want to participate at the competitive level against teams from other schools and this will give them the experience and the confidence to move forward,” says Principal McCauley.
The competitive teams from R.L. Beattie Public School participated in the West Provincial FIRST® LEGO® League Championships on January 14, 2023 at Durham College in Oshawa. They joined some 40 teams from across the province and garnered some impressive results.
In FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® Competitions, participants gain real-world problem-solving experiences, and hone their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.
The Beattie Bots, including Grayson Catton, Jett Gasteiger, Sophia Gould, Nicholas Mullaly, Nicholas Pegues, Henrik Rosien and Hanning Ye, captured the first place Innovation Project Award and the Alliance Challenge Award. This was the first time a Sudbury school captured an award at this event. For the robot game portion of the challenge, the Beattie Bots scored 320 points – a new school record – and placed fourth overall.
The Bionic Barons, including Benjamin Cole, Finn Cromwell, Henry Ford, Selim Ibrahim, Julia Masters, Lukas Muinonen, Owen Stoddart and Charles Zhou, ran into some technical difficulties but never gave up on their mission of having fun. They scored 160 points and placed 35th in the robot game.
To be eligible to compete at the provincial level, both teams took part in the regional qualifier in North Bay on December 10, 2022. The Beattie Bots garnered the first place Champions Award, and the Bionic Barons took home the Core Values Award.
Both teams met twice a week after school to work on their robot design using LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime Set. Students from Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School mentored the younger students every step of the way. It gave them an opportunity to share their passion for science, technology, engineering and math while earning volunteer hours required for graduation.
For the championship challenge, teams had to identify and research a local problem related to the SUPERPOWEREDSM season theme. Groups were then required to develop a solution using the FIRST® Core Values framework – teamwork, discovery, innovation, inclusion, impact and fun.
Teams were tasked to create and code their robot to complete missions on a table-top playing field, test their solutions, and share their thinking during the robot game. Teams also had to explain their program strategy, robot attachments and robot design to a panel of judges.
“Both teams displayed professionalism and collaboration throughout the challenge,” says Stephanie Rivard, the R.L. Beattie Public School teacher who co-coaches the Beattie Bots. “It was a great opportunity to bring everyone together with a love for technology and design.”
The Beattie Bots will present their project to a panel of mining industry experts as a way to increase the efficiency of underground sites using hydroelectric energy. Students welcome the opportunity to have their idea considered in a real-world application.
“What our students were able to accomplish is the result of hard work, dedication, perseverance and resilience,” says Principal Kelly McCauley. “The entire school community could not be prouder of both teams. Congratulations!”
She adds: “The future looks bright as our Robotics Club will no doubt spawn some of the next generation of Beattie Bots and Bionic Barons.”
Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 674-3171, ext. 7217.