Glenwood Middle School’s LEGO robotics teams wins state, qualifies for nationals
Imagine being able to generate electricity simply by walking in a special pair of shoes and selling it to the city’s power grid.
That’s exactly what a team of after-school club students from Glenwood Springs Middle School imagined for their state-winning FIRST LEGO League robotics project last weekend.
Glenwood’s team won first place for core values and also won best project out of 75 teams competing in Denver. The win qualified the team to compete for a spot in LEGO League Nationals in June at Disney World, with a $20,000 grand prize on the line.
“I have to give all the credit to the kids who put in the hard work, and the school for being so supportive of our program,” team coach Adam Cartwright said.
Roaring Fork Schools were represented by robotics teams at the FIRST LEGO League state competition Dec. 7 in Denver from Glenwood Springs Middle School and Basalt Middle School.
FIRST LEGO League is a global robotics competition that engages children ages 9 to 16 in research, problem-solving, coding and engineering through robotics challenges based on a real-world scientific topic, according to a description of the event.
“This year’s topic is ‘city shaper,’ where teams have to identify a problem with a building or public space in the community, design a solution and then present the project,” Cartwright explained.
It was the second appearance at the state competition for the GSMS Cougar Robo-inventors. The team was established four years ago.
The team competed in Grand Junction in November, placing third in the robot games, second in the innovation project category and first for core values.
“The project is based on generating electricity through specialized shoes that harvest the kinetic energy created by walking. The city then pays individuals for the electricity through charge stations,” Cartwright further explained.
Cartwright is an eighth-grade math teacher at GSMS. His co-coach is Jaimal Proctor, and the team has five students who participate in the after-school robotics club.
Basalt Middle School fielded two teams at the regional competition in Aspen. Both teams arose out of enrichment classes where students learn to program LEGO robots.
“LEGO robotics helps students develop problem-solving strategies using both teamwork and engineering,” BMS science teacher Amy Kaufmann, who has coached the team for the past three years, said in a school press release.
BMS has had a team since 2012 and has a long history of winning regional trophies or qualifying for state nearly every year since then.
This year, one team responded to the challenge prompt, “What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin?” by raising funds to help reseed the Lake Christine Burn area near Basalt.
Basalt’s second team, the LEGO Longhorns, redesigned an empty building in the heart of downtown Basalt into a youth center. They presented their concept to Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney and Planning Director Susan Philp. The team won a “golden ticket” spot to advance to the state competition.
Glenwood Springs Elementary School also has a robotics team, the GSES Grizzlies, which competed at the November Regionals in Aspen with 24 other teams.
The elementary school team has nine students and is coached by GSES PEAK teacher Barb Hovde-Brown. This is the sixth year the school has had a team, and two of those years the team has competed at state.
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Commencement at Colorado Mountain College is always a special day, but this year was different.