Middle Schoolers Excel at Robotics Competition

Middle Schoolers Excel at Robotics Competition
Posted on 11/20/2018
Montclair middle schoolers excelled at the FIRST Lego League (FLL) regional competition on November 17 at Clifton High School. Competing among 40 teams, two of Montclair’s own, Renaissance Middle School’s TORN (Technological Organization of Renaissance Nerds) and Buzz Aldrin Middle School’s (BAMS) team advanced to the Northern New Jersey State FLL Robotics Competition which will take place at Mt. Olive High School on Dec 8 and 9.  

TORN took home the Champions Award for a consistent high score in all four events. “I would like to say that the success of the team was due to the hard work and dedication of the robotics coaches, Renaissance parents Mike Hadley, Per Moi, Matt Moses and MHS student Isaac Liu,” said Renaissance science teacher Todd Smith. “Also I am proud to note our $900 in team expenses was fully funded by a Robotics team car wash.”  

Renaissance Robotics Team

The BAMS team, led by four three-year veterans, scored very well and demonstrated a rapidly growing competency to the judges. In the four events in which they participated, they earned awards in two of them; one for their robot and a second for their research project.  The team’s robot had the second-best score of the day, elegantly traveling autonomously across the 4’x 8’ board and successfully engaging with many of the 15 designated challenges, scoring 134 points. The project award was for their research into a solution for the atrophy of muscles and the osteoporosis of bones due to long term space travel in a microgravity climate. Their solution was to create a magnetic room with a magnetic suit that astronauts would wear, causing them to have to "fight" against the magnetic attraction and/or repulsion while moving, mimicking the effects of gravity.    

Buzz Aldrin Robotics Team

“With the masterful help of MHS students as mentors, our team has absorbed an array of skills and knowledge and then skillfully implemented them,” said BAMS STEM Coordinator Dan Taylor. “What once was a team who struggled to finish much above last place, now it has revitalized itself to the point of placing respectively in the top 25% and 10% of the regional field over the past two years. In both cases, they qualified for the annual state competition. Last year, our team placed in the top 25% of the 64 teams at States.”  

Added Taylor, “I cannot adequately express the heartfelt gratitude I feel for our four-year mentor Beckett Welles and the three other MHS students who joined him periodically during his tenure; Harrison Naftelberg, Serena Wurmser, and Nick Kopelow, each of them providing additional guidance, skills, and perspective. It has been their tutelage that has been the deciding factor for our team. Their efforts and knowledge are the reason why our team has recently excelled so well.”    
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