Elementary, middle school students compete in Robotics Challenge

Elementary, middle school students compete in Robotics Challenge

Students from Charles County Public elementary and middle schools competed in the 2013 College of Southern Maryland Junior (LEGO) Division robotics challenge held Saturday, April 13, at the La Plata campus. The annual event is part of CSM's Institute of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (iSTEM), which provides programs to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Thirteen Charles County teams earned awards at the event. Ninety teams from schools in Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties, as well as local private schools, competed in the event. A separate event for high school teams was held earlier this year. This year's competition was titled “Green City,” and required teams to build and program robots that would simulate elements of biotechnology research.

The Renewable Robots team from Gale-Bailey Elementary School earned a first-place award among competing elementary schools in the Creative Presentation Award category. This award is presented to the team that demonstrates an imaginative and creative presentation that highlights the team's research and solution. Team members are third graders Terrell Funchess, Brandon Robertson and Nicholas Summers, fourth graders Brynna Bode, Madison Kavlick and Sarah Treadway, and fifth graders Torrance Funchess and Dominic Rollins. Team coaches are Gale-Bailey science teacher Erin Good, Nina Ogasawara, Gale-Bailey's school counselor, and volunteer Kerry Dee.

Matthew Henson Middle School's Team O-Prime received first place in the Innovation and Strategy Award category. This award recognizes teams that use solid engineering practices and a well-developed strategy to design and build an innovative robot. Team members are sixth graders Andie Angel, Kyrsten Honaker, Azanaa Hutchison and Evan Patterson. The team coach is Doug Cunningham, a social studies teacher at Henson.

The Tigers team from T.C. Martin Elementary School earned a second-place award in the Robot Programming Award category. This award is given to teams that use good programming principles when building their robots, including clear, concise and reusable code. Team members are fourth graders Kayla Ashford, Quinnel Booth, Ryann Brown, Pamela Canterbury, Matthew Coccaro, Steven Houchin, Jacob Kerstner, Marissa Steury and Noah Whelan. The team coach is Martin science teacher Michelle Reeves.

Arthur Middleton Elementary School's Ninja Owls team received second-place in the Innovation and Strategy Award category. Team members are third graders Royce Nguyen and Jalen Walker, and fifth graders Christian Baker, Aliah Brown, Deon Dandrade, Mikayla Davis, Travis Dye, Cody Jordan, Ali Ramamni, Andre Slade and Dominic Williams. The team coach is Middleton's science teacher Jennifer Elder.

Two elementary school teams received awards in the Innovative Solution Project Award category. William A. Diggs Elementary School's Robo-Hawks team received second place, and Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School's Team Mitchell earned third place. The award recognizes teams whose quality research, innovative solutions and creative presentation best reflect an in-depth understanding of scientific principles and issues with the challenge project.

Diggs' team members are fifth graders Kalei Douglas, Shelby Hiens, Alexandria Hill, Olivia Johnson, Emily Kerns, Kai Ko and Demetrius Salley. Team coach is Jackie Stancliff, a fifth-grade teacher at Diggs. Mitchell's team includes fourth graders Nick Haldie, Emily Smith and Samantha Yorio, and fifth graders Ashton Gordon, Brandon Luton and Rukiya Richards. The team coach is Margaret Grove, a first-grade teacher at Mitchell.

At the middle school level, the Terminators team from Henson earned a second place Research Award. This award is presented to the team that demonstrates the use and understanding of diverse resources to formulate an in-depth explanation of the team's point of view and solution to the challenge project. Team members are sixth graders Isaac Austin, Chris Dewey, Akshay Dham, Dezmen Lewis and Bernard Palmer. Team coach is Doug Cunningham, a social studies teacher at Henson.

Piccowaxen Middle School's PreCyclers team received a second place award in the Innovation and Strategy Award category at the middle school level. Team members are sixth graders McKenna Simpson and Katie Czysz, and seventh graders Robbie Delozier and Kyle Dunn. Team coach is Ian Buter, content specialist for science for Charles County Public Schools and former science teacher at Piccowaxen.

Another team from Piccowaxen, the Pollution Reducing Panthers, earned a second place award in the Teamwork category. This award is presented teams that best demonstrate enthusiasm, exception partnership and excellent teamwork. Team members are sixth graders Matthew Jozwik and Alyssa Simpson, and seventh graders Kyle Batchelor and Garrett Cooksey. Team coach is Brian Colaizzi, a science teacher at Piccowaxen.

Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School's Galaxy Robot team received third place among elementary schools in the Robot Design Award category. Judges gave this award to teams whose work stood out for innovation and dependability. Team members were also interviewed by judges to learn their design ideas. Team members are Gerik Babiarz, fourth grade, and fifth graders Arica Jones and Treylin Lewis. Team coaches are NiYa Costley, a special education teacher at Brown, and Joseph McMahan, third-grade teacher at Brown.

In addition to these awards, three other teams received special challenge awards. Martin's Tigers team of fifth graders received the Community Award, which is given to one team that displays the best community partnership throughout the project. Members are Bain Black, Jeremy Boyden, Camden Burroughs, Nicholas Crain, Christopher Rand-Crawford, Nathan Daetwyler, Kayla DeHetre, Mackenzie Galope, Mitchell Kanter and Cedric McKoy. Team coach is Michelle Reeves, science teacher at Martin.

Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School's Super Six team received the Against All Odds Award. This award was given to teams that are able to overcome a difficult situation during the challenge while working together to improvise and create a solution. Team members are Brady Freundel, first grade; Melanie Hall, third grade; fourth graders Leah Dobry and Grady Klaas, and fifth graders Ian Humphries and Jacob Klapal. Team coach is Lisa Sweeney, technology facilitator at Mt. Hope.

A team from Benjamin Stoddert Middle School received a Rising Star Award. This award recognizes a team that the judges notice and expect great things from in the future. Team members are sixth graders Nathan Dewey, Mackenzie Shughart, Brianna Strong and Camrie Wood, seventh graders Richard Brown, Tanner Hoefferle and Chance Zaremski, and eighth graders Annissa Fountain and Zachary Parks. The team coach is Anthony Churbock, a science teacher at Stoddert.

For more information about the challenge, visit the College of Southern Maryland's website at http://www.csmd.edu/roboticschallenge/.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technological advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

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