Schulich sponsors FIRST LEGO League robotics competition

More than 125 elementary and junior high school students learn value of innovation and teamwork

The day started with team presentations that evaluated them in areas such as technical excellence and core values, and ended with a robotics competition that involved Lego Mindstorms robots helping rescue survivors of a natural disaster.

“The project presentation was exciting,” said Tomoe Kulka, an elementary student from the Hillhurst School team. “The core values activities were real fun, too.”

Neon Vipers, a community team from Airdrie, was the overall champion. Other winners included Eye of the Storm, St. Ambrose School (technical award), Hillhurst School (project award), Cubotics, a community Cub Scouts team (core values award), St. Boniface School team entitled Boni Building Beavers (judges’ choice award) and Team Shadow Tech, a community team hosted at the University of Calgary (robot game award).

“Events and activities such as these really bring out the best in students who might otherwise stay under the radar,” said Genevieve Schmaltz who teaches the robotics option at St. Brigid School. “It helps them shine.”

Rachael L’Orsa, a graduate student at Schulich and lead of the Schulich Community Robotics Program, organized the event with the help of 50 volunteers. “The enthusiasm and energy among the participating teams was amazing,” she said. “I am glad we were able to bring together so many bright young minds. On behalf of my team, I would like to thank Lego for making it possible for enthusiastic volunteers to put together an event like this and the Schulich School of Engineering for sponsoring the event”

“It is so important to generate a passion for science, technology, engineering and math early among young children,” said Interim Dean of Schulich Bill Rosehart. “It ensures that we will have scientists and engineers to solve complex problems our societies face in the future. This is why we support initiatives such as the Southern Alberta FIRST LEGO League and run programs such as the Schulich Community Robotics Program, Minds in Motion and Cybermentor.”