FuerzaBots Making Trash into Treasure

The FuerzaBots are at it again! LWGMS's Robotics Team – the school's fourth – has been working hard building and programming their robots, creating their trash-themed LEGO® models, and working to complete missions on their specialized TRASH TREK playing fields. They have also been busy finding solutions to real-world problems by delving into trash-use problems right here at L-Dub.

As many of you may know, FIRST LEGO League introduces students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. Our FuerzaBots, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches Ms. Christine, Ms. Cristina, Rob Sim P'16 and Tim Ross P'18, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society.

The FuerzaBots get to:

  • Design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Research challenges facing today’s scientists
  • Learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills
  • Participate in tournaments and celebrations

The FuerzaBots, comprised of sixth grade students Alicia, Ryan, Helen, Elliot, Vivian, Luci, and Edie, seventh grade students Sophie, Emiko, and Audrey, and eighth grade students Maya, Julia, and Isabel, have been tackling this year's Challenge as a unit. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL Core Values. Teams of up to ten kids (on the competition floor), with one adult coach, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by FLL's Core Values – that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork. 

The FuerzaBots Robotics Team heads to the North Seattle WA FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Competition this Sunday, December 6.

This year, the 2015 FIRST® LEGO® League TRASH TREKSM Challenge, 290,000 children ages 9 to 16 from over 80 countries will explore the fascinating world of trash. From collection, to sorting, to smart production and reuse, there is certainly more to trash than meets the eye. The FuerzaBots have been working diligently on the Robot Challenge for which, over three months, they designed, built, and programed four robots, one of which will tackle as many obstacles of natural disaster aftermath as possible in 2.5 minutes. The FuerzaBots dove into programing the "brick" – the brains – of the robot, and they quickly learned how the sensors work, and in what situations they would be used. They also mastered how the motors work to make the robot go forward, backward, and to turn, as well as how to make the robots pick items up and move levers. As of today the FuerzaBot's robots can complete eight of the ten course obstacles. The girls are putting the finishing touches on their TRASH TREK project this week.

They've also been asked to work to solve a real-life problem pertaining to trash in the "project" section of the Qualifying Competition. As LWGMS students do, the FuerzaBots sought to solve a problem right here in our school community.

58,140 plastic bags on top of each other it would be as tall as Seattle’s Great Wheel!

58,140 plastic bags on top of each other it would be as tall as Seattle’s Great Wheel!

From the FuerzaBots:

"Through surveys and observation, we found that 68% of L-Dub students use plastic baggies in their lunches. That’s over half the school! We also found that of the plastic baggie users, 34% use them five or more times a week! 

On average then, our community uses 323 plastic baggies per week. That’s a lot of plastic baggies going into a landfill each week! This would total to 58,140 plastic baggies in a school year. If you were to stack 58,140 plastic bags on top of each other it would be as tall as Seattle’s Great Wheel. That’s terrible!

We all know this is a problem we needs solving, so the FuerzaBots have produced a video tutorial for making a DIY Reusable Snack Bag. Hopefully, everyone will try to make and use these bags. We suggest if you can't, though, that you buy reusable baggies, or switch to wax paper."

The FIRST Lego League (FLL) Robotics Regional Tournament is this Sunday, December 6, at Ballard High School in Seattle. During the tournament, teams have three rounds on the competition tables to get the best score possible. When not competing with their robots, teams give their research presentations, and are interviewed about the technical design of their robots and how they work as teams. Regional qualifiers may advance to the championship event in January. The winners of the Champion's Award, the most prestigious award, may be eligible to participate in a variety of post-season tournament opportunities both domestic and abroad. This, their first year, our FuerzaBots, whose motto is "Code Like a Girl," are excited to be participating in the tournament and will be focusing on getting as far as they can and learning from the mistakes they make along the way.

Join us to cheer on the FuerzaBots Robotics Team as they head to the North Seattle WA FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Competition!

Where: Ballard High School

8:00a – Team Check-in Opens
8:30a – Coach Meeting
9:00a – Judge Sessions Begin
12:30p – Opening Ceremony
12:45p – Robot Game
4:30p – Awards Ceremony

Go, FuerzaBots!

Women's History Month/FLEX Week

If you walk down the main hallway of tall, red lockers at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, you may notice that each one has a silver nameplate at its top. These nameplates do not refer to the students whose belongings reside within the lockers. Instead, every locker bears the name of an inspirational woman – such as Ida B. Wells, Rachel Carson, and Elizabeth Blackwell – who reminds our girls of the qualities that reside within each one of them: intelligence, strength, courage, passion, compassion, and the capacity to become anything they dare to dream. As our students grow into young women strong in mind, body, and voice, we make it a point to surround them – quite literally – with strong female role models and change-makers. We lovingly refer to these women as Locker Ladies, a title that is a true badge of honor at LWGMS.

March is Women's History Month, and this year's theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. Yesterday, our students kicked off day one of FLEx Week at the Museum of Flight, celebrating Women in Aviation.  

And here's to our Locker Lady, Amelia Earhart...

Amelia Earhart

American aviation pioneer and author

Born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 Amelia Mary Earhart had no idea that she was going to become the first woman pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. “By the time I had gotten two or three hundred feet off the ground I knew I had to fly.” Amelia said this on December 28, 1920 when she was in an airplane for the first time with her dad and pilot Frank Hawks. 

As a child and adult Amelia was daring; her parents did not raise their two children to be "nice little girls," and Amelia and her sister were thought of as tomboys. Not normal for the times, Amelia aspired to a future career; she kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in male-oriented fields, including film, law, advertising, management, and engineering.

After her first plane ride in 1920, Amelia got to work saving money for flying lessons in California. On May 15,1923 Amelia Earhart was the 16th woman in the world to get her air license. According to the Boston Globe Amelia Earhart was on of the best women pilots in the world. When she was 30 she was asked to fly across the Atlantic accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis Gordon, really as a passenger, but she was allowed to keep the flight log. When she landed she told the reporter, "Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes." She added, "...maybe someday I'll try it alone." Lo behold a few years later, at the age of 34, on May 20, 1932 Amelia became first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic and for her bravery was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Herbert Hoover. 

Between 1930–1935, Earhart had set seven women's speed and distance records, became good friends with Eleanor Roosevelt – the two shared interests and passions, especially women's causes – but her eyes were on a new "prize...one flight which I most wanted to attempt – a circumnavigation of the globe as near its waistline as could be." She attempted this flight two times – the first time was successful because of mechanical failures and though she flew a lot farther the second time – 22,000 of the 29,000 miles – she disappeared without a trace. Amelia was a brave women and a mentor to all girls.

Margaret ’13