Everything is awesome!
Bay View girls lock down Lego crown
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.