Ev­ery­thing is awe­some!

Bay View girls lock down Lego crown

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH FITZGER­ALD jfitzger­ald@woonsock­et­call.com

EAST PROV­I­DENCE — It's the sec­ond time that an all­girls team has won the state FIRST Lego League cham­pi­onship com­pe­ti­tion. And, it's the sec­ond time that team has been from Bay View Academy.

On Satur­day, Jan. 14, one of Bay View's two com­pet­ing teams – St. Mary Academy Ro­bot­ics Team (S.M.A.R.T 2.0) – won the state com­pe­ti­tion and qual­i­fied to com­pete in the in­ter­na­tional FIRST Lego League World Fes­ti­val in April. The 10 stu­dents on S.M.A.R.T 2.0 also won in­di­vid­ual $20,000 schol­ar­ships to Roger Wil­liams Univer­sity.

Un­der the di­rec­tion of Coach Linda Grasso, the S.M.A.R.T 2.0 team mem­bers in­vited to the World Fes­ti­val, in­clude Lucy Bosch, Wren Hager, Is­abella Hef­fer­nan, Mar­garet Ma­honey, Maeve

Martineau, Eva Matos, Gabriella Oso­rio-Palo, Ains­ley Pat­tie, Daria Smuk and Ava Troino.

This is the sec­ond time since 2011 that S.M.A.R.T 2.0 has won the state cham­pi­onship. The team is hop­ing to com­pete at the World Fes­ti­val in St. Louis and is ac­tively fundrais­ing to cover the cost of air­fare and ho­tel. A Go­FundMe ac­count at go­fundme.com/BayViewRobo tics has been set up with a tar­get goal of $22,000. So far, just un­der $6,000 has been raised.

Each year, FIRST Lego League sets a theme for the com­pe­ti­tion, re­ferred to as the Chal­lenge. The com­pe­ti­tion has three parts: the Ro­bot Game, the Project and Core Val­ues. In the Ro­bot Game, stu­dents write code in or­der to prompt an au­tonomous ro­bot to ac­com­plish a spe­cific set of tasks. For the Project, stu­dents iden­tify a prob­lem, re­search, and present a so­lu­tion to judges. Through­out the Ro­bot Game and the Project pre­sen­ta­tion, teams are judged based on their align­ment with FIRST Lego League Core Val­ues.

This year's theme is "An­i­mal Al­lies." For S.M.A.R.T. 2.0's Project, they set about en­hanc­ing GPS for blind users, by out­fit­ting see­ing-eye dogs with a vest that tells them which di­rec­tion to turn. The idea is that the vests have three sen­sors, one on the left, one of the right, and one on the back to­wards the tail. When a map app tells the user to turn left, the left sen­sor on the vest would vi­brate. Turn right and the right sen­sor vi­brates. The back sen­sor would be to in­di­cate whether the dog should con­tinue moving for­ward. S.M.A.R.T. 2.0's Project pre­sen­ta­tion in­cluded a book they cre­ated, "Once Upon a Tail," in which a blind princess is granted a dog trained with one of these vests. To round out the fairy "tail," a dog named "Sir Ruff­in­g­ton" serves as the knight in shining ar­mor.

This was the first year that Bay View en­tered two teams into the FIRST Lego League qual­i­fiers, which took place on Nov. 19. S.M.A.R.T. started as an af­ter-school pro­gram at the Academy, with only one team of a max­i­mum 10 stu­dents. In­ter­est out­grew the team limit of 10, so this year Bay View of­fered S.M.A.R.T. 2.0. Ad­di­tion­ally, ro­bot­ics was of­fered as part of the Mid­dle School elec­tive cur­ricu­lum. Both S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T 2.0 qual­i­fied in Novem­ber to com­pete at the Jan. 14 cham­pi­onship. Ac­cord­ing to the Rhode Is­land Stu­dents of the Future (RISEF) web­site, over 600 stu­dents are part of 64 FIRST Lego League teams, 40 of which ad­vanced through the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment sys­tem to the FIRST Lego League state cham­pi­onship. Only one team from Rhode Is­land goes onto the in­ter­na­tional FIRST Lego League World Fes­ti­val.

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