Teams from Indian Head and Dr. Thomas L. Higdon elementary schools, as well as Theodore G. Davis, Matthew Henson, Mattawoman and Piccowaxen middle schools, competed in the 2014 Save the Bay/Chemical Engineering Robotics Challenge held Feb. 22 at North Point High School. The event was sponsored by the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) and is part of the 2013-14 Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Technology Division (NSWC IHEOTD) In-School Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program.
The event featured two levels of competition: one for fifth-grade teams, the Save the Bay challenge, and one for eighth-grade teams, the Chemical Engineering challenge. Awards are given in four categories: Robotics, Technical, Research and Overall. At the elementary-school level, two teams from Higdon won awards in the Save the Bay challenge.
The Fierce Fighting Five team won second place in the Robotics category. During the Robotics portion of the challenge, teams were required to complete seven challenges with their robots within three minutes. Members of the team are fifth graders Will Anderson, Caroline Edelen, Landon Jewell, Camden Sciascia and Ashton White. The team coach is Bradley Buzby, a fifth-grade teacher at Higdon.
Team U.S.S. Robots from Higdon won third place in the Technical category. In this category, students are required to perform a robotics task for the judges and are scored on their ability to execute the assigned task. Team members are fifth graders Bryan Banks, Ashton Blackwell, Jenna Burtch, Tessa Everett, Gavin Ganter and Bryce Lightbown. Buzby also coaches this team.
Three teams from Henson earned awards in the Chemical Engineering challenge. Team Mystery Inc. won second place in the Robotics category. During the robotics portion of the challenge, middle school teams were required to complete six challenges with their robots within three minutes. Team Mystery Inc. also shares second place in this category with two teams from St. Mary’s Bryantown. Members of the team are eighth graders Cortlend Davis, Amelia Dudley, Hannah Gates, Michael Hauser and Abbie Rooney.
Two Henson teams, Team Duracell and Team Leggo My Eggo, tied for third place in the Robotics category. Members of Team Duracell are eighth graders Phillip Aguilar, Joshua Carson, Marisa Edmonds, Laura Franch and Marcus Jackson. Team Leggo My Eggo includes eighth graders Larea Barrett, Noah Kidwell, Carrine King, Kele’ Mills and Natalie Warren. The coach of both teams is Melody Colebrook-Jones, a science teacher at Henson.
Two teams from Henson, Team Ask G2 and Team Duracell, won awards in the Technical category. Team Ask G2 won first place and includes eighth graders Aniya Daniel, Gabrielle Dickerson, Garrett Hayes, Shamere Shuler and Kauvon Smith. Colebrook-Jones also coaches this team. Team Duracell earned a third-place award in the Technical category.
During the event, teams were required to complete challenges with their robots on challenge boards representing the Chesapeake Bay and a chemical pilot plant. Students from St. Mary’s County Public Schools and area private schools also competed in the event.
The in-school STEM program was launched at the competing Charles County schools earlier this school year. Over a period of 16 weeks, engineers serve as mentors to help students work with robotics, engineering challenges and scientific investigations studying the Chesapeake Bay and chemical engineering. Teams learned to write computer programs using the RoboLab programming environment and built robots capable of performing up to eight different robotics challenges within a period of three minutes.
As part of the program, teams were also required to develop research projects related to either the Chesapeake Bay or a chemical process, which they will present to a panel of judges for awards in April. Once the research presentation portion of the program is complete, awards will be given to teams in the Research and Overall categories.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.