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Learning with Legos

Robotics 2.JPG Riverside Prep students compete in local robotics tournament  

After several months of preparation and anticipation, 10 middle school students represented Riverside Preparatory for the first time in a local Lego League Robotics Tournament on Saturday, November 11th.

The annual competition, held at Vanguard Preparatory in Apple Valley, is the qualifying tournament for the Southern California championship at Legoland. Hundreds of thousands of children from around the world participate each year, according to the First Lego League website, building robots while learning skills such as teamwork, problem solving and basic computer programming.

RP teachers Rachel Burdette and Cameron Clark coached the team of 7th and 8th graders, which was composed of Andrew Barocio, Tanner Bomar, Raymond Gonzales, Allan Guzman, Toma Hanawa, Brandin Hoover, Tristan Marshall, Gage Olson, Chad Riebling, Edward Rosales.

“We have been meeting in class and also on Wednesdays after school to prepare,” Burdette said. “Through the Lego tournaments, students are learning to problem solve as a team. Students’ class projects are designed to develop computational and spatial design thinking skills along with group problem solving.”

In preparing for the competition, students design, build and program robots using concepts of math and science while using a platform already familiar to them: Legos.

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“I liked getting to see how the robots work … I learned a lot about programming,” eighth grade student Andrew Barocio said. “It’s exciting to get to see other people’s robots and to see if we will actually win.”

RP students competed against teams from other regional schools at Vanguard on Veterans Day, and while they didn’t bring home a trophy this year, they said they had a lot of fun.

“I basically enjoyed being able to build and program robots and being a part of the competition,” seventh grade student Brandin Hoover said. “I learned it’s a lot harder to program robots than it actually looks when it’s done.”

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Seeing that only boys participated in this year’s team, Burdette said she plans to start a “girl-focused approach to robotics” as part of the technology club which meets after school. The focus, just like that of the Lego robotics competitions, will be to encourage students to look at possible careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

“The curriculum has elements of STEM throughout,” Burdette said. “Today, every field is touched by it.”


 

 

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