Monday, December 6, 2010

Body Forward!

This last Saturday somebody enchanted my kids: no need to wake them up or remind them ten times to get ready - they managed everything in a record time. So by 8.15 AM we were wondering around the lobby of the Woburn Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, looking for the rest of the Huron Hawks Team - and their Lego Robot. The day of their FIRST Lego League Qualifying Tournament was finally here.

Huron Hawks getting their Lego robot ready for the tournament.

Woburn Collegiate was like a little hive - full of mostly 4 - 6 graders eager to put their robots into the ring and compete in the FLL's Body Forward Challenge. For many of the kids it was a first venture into the realms of biomedical engineering. Their robots had to fix broken bones, get to a syringe or patch the heart. Plus, they did their own research on an illness they found interesting and prepared a poster presentation. I bet you never heard about the Zollinger Ellison syndrome. Huron Hawks can tell you what's the cause and how it can be treated.

Part of the FLL competition is a project presentation - this year tied to biomedical engineering.

The robot matches were hilarious! While the teams were cheering on the side, two brave robot operators had to cope with the pressure and try to fulfill in 2 1/2 min as many of the fifteen tasks as possible. It was amazing to see what these kids could do!

In the matches, Lego robots have to perform series of tasks in a limited time.

For Mr. Goodyear, coach of Huron Hawks and teacher at the Huron Street Public School, it's all about team work: kids learn how to present their ideas and listen to the ideas of others, how to find roles in the team they can contribute their best and how to work towards a deadline. It's a great way how to capture their interest in science and engineering! Let's see what they will invent in the future!
Two robot operators control the robot during the match, switch the robot arms to make it push, pull or lift various objects.

As a parent, I must express many thanks to teachers, coaches and all volunteers who dedicate their time to bringing this event together. And to Quanser engineers who participate in workshops, career days and competitions and inspire grade- and high-school kids to become engineers too.

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