Kent Senior School takes to the Lego Robotics Championships

February 2012 – By Justin Millerson

The team. PHOTO Courtesy Kent School

Lego is not exactly a common activity in junior-high school, but thanks to the First Lego League, students from Kent Senior Public School (980 Dufferin St.) were given a chance to put away the books and start building.
Ten students formed what will be remembered as the last Lego robotics team at the school, as the building is slated to be shut down at the end of the semester. The school will go out with great success in the tournament, having won a spot in provincials for the last two years.

The team spent the last four months working together, building and designing a robot, made entirely out of Lego which would eventually compete in regional and provincial competitions.

The long journey came to a sudden halt in January when team Kent fell short of the top three positions at provincials, ending a chance for a spot at the world championships. But the students still held their heads high for having the opportunity.

“It was exciting and overwhelming because we got to see all the other good teams,” said one of the students.

Each robot in the worldwide contest was given two minutes and thirty seconds to complete as many tasks as possible.

Out of 13 possible tasks, Kent’s eight-inch tall robot was able to complete 11 with the help of nine attachments (also made from Lego).

Aside from the competition, one third of the entire project is focused on addressing the tournament’s theme. This year’s theme, Food Factor, looks at food safety and presentation.

For research, the students conducted an experiment observing the decomposition of salads in different temperatures.

“Regarding our solution, we’ve created an 8-step method by combining existing methods in a specific sequence to execute existing bacteria that we’ve control of,” stated a student report on the team’s findings, which can be found on Kent Senior Public School’s website.

The entire project was left in the hands of the students while the coaches, Giovanna Vaccaro and Kevin Sheppard took more of a sideline role, coaching the students to work together and come to their own solutions.

“It was amazing to see them cooperate and collaborate together,” said Vaccaro. “When they had to come together as a whole team they were able to do that.”

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