Two of Sidwell’s robotics teams – one comprised of fourth and fifth graders and the other of Upper School students – earned first place finishes on Saturday in their respective tournaments. Both teams will now advance to state championships.
The fourth and fifth graders of the team “The Nights of the Round Pillow” earned first place in teamwork at the FIRST Lego League qualifying tournament at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, on Saturday. The students also achieved the second highest score in robot performance, which is a triumph for one of the youngest teams at the competition.
The team is made up of seven fourth graders and three fifth graders. Their work as a team was most evident when they were running the robot, sharing strategy moves, and supporting each other as partners took their turns, according to LS technology director Jenni Swanson Voorhees, who leads the team with LS science teacher Sam Francis. The Nights will move forward to the Maryland State Tournament at the end of February, along with the BotBoyz, the School’s sixth, seventh, and eighth grade robotics team.
The Upper School team, “RoboFoxes,” came in first place in the FIRST Tech Challenge Northern Virginia Qualifier. This was the team’s first year competing in the tournament, and US computer science teacher and team advisor Darby Thompson noted what an exciting accomplishment it is for a rookie team to win. The RoboFoxes won the PTC Design Award and the Winning Alliance Award and will head to the state championship later this month.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math while fostering self-confidence and communication and leadership skills.
Photos of the two teams can be seen at right. Congratulations to all students involved!