MORRISBURG – A local group of Grade 5, 7 and 8 students, in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have found a virtual way to learn the importance of teamwork as they strive for and achieve success.
Emma Morrow, Aarth Bhavsar, Mary Fitzsimons, Kai Morrow, Ishan Bhavsar and Sam Morrow have been working together as a team calling themselves Dude Decent embarking on a virtual journey to compete in First Canada First Lego League Challenge events.
“The kids really wanted to do this, but because of COVID they couldn’t do it at school, so with our (their parents) support they were able to pursue this on their own,” said Swapan Randhawa, mother of two of the children on the team.
FLL Challenge involves friendly competition between students ages 9-16 engaging in research, problem-solving, coding and engineering – building and programming a LEGO robot that navigates the missions of a robot game. As part of Challenge, teams also participate in a research project to identify and solve a relevant real-world problem.
This year’s theme was exercise and education, and the team redefined fitness by combining it with popular video game Minecraft.
Calling their project Motivate Fit EDU, it consists of a series of activities which encourage kids to be active while completing Minecraft-style challenges.
Competing first at Regionals the team moved on to compete earlier this month remotely in the Provincial Championships where they placed third.
This third place finish ensures them a place in the International Competition held virtually from Greece this year.
Randhawa said she is extremely proud of the kids who are putting an unbelievable amount of effort into this.
She said that they are doing this FLL Challenge in addition to their regular remote school learning.
“They have learned so much, not just the robotics programming and coding, but they have learned so much about the importance of team work and have gained so much self-confidence as they have learned to present themselves and their work virtually,” said Randhawa.
“The fact that they wanted to do this, and have taken on that responsibility on top of all their regular educational responsibilities is a great source of pride for us as parents.”
Each of the children takes away something different from their work on the FLL Challenges.
Sam especially likes working on the wiring.
Ishan likes the coding work using Scratch.
Kai is especially excited to program, work on wiring and build stuff as a team.
Aarth enjoys the fun of coding because through coding he can learn so many things. He adds that working as a team gives them the opportunity to build things they could not have done on their own.
Emma really liked creating the fitness based games using Scratch and Makey Makey and designing the website they created for the challenge.
Mary said that building the multi-sensory maze and controller mat was a lot of fun.
“Despite all the crazy COVID challenges, we’ve learned that teamwork is essential for success,” said the team on the website they created.
“Our love of sport and video games has come together, into a passion project that can transform lives. All of us share one vision, which makes it easy to work as a team. We’ve been through so much together, discovering each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are very confident about our innovation project, and we say that it’s ‘Fitness Redefined.’”