For some King’s students and teachers, robotics isn’t just a class, it’s a way to bring hope and opportunity to students worldwide.
Just ask Liberty Lomonaco and Tammy Nguyen. At the end of June, these two CyberKnights team members traveled to the Beacon of Hope Secondary School in Soroti, Uganda to work with their award winning robotics program. Liberty and Tammy mentored the Beacon robotics club (CyberKnights Uganda) as they worked on two fun, challenging projects: 1) create robots to play a soccer-like game, and 2) create robots that can autonomously find their way through a maze. The Beacon students demoed both projects to their entire student body with rave reviews! Three years ago the CyberKnights, working with Pilgrim Africa, helped found the Beacon robotics program. This past year, the Beacon robotics club competed in an international robotics program hosted in Kampala Uganda and won the Gold Medal for Machine Control using techniques King’s students had taught them last summer!
In mid-summer, two other CyberKnights team members, student Jane Yi and mentor Bobby Neckorcuk, flew to Tel Aviv, Israel to help an Israeli team train a rookie Vietnamese team! Jane and Bobby spent two weeks in Tel Aviv building international relationships and carrying the CyberKnight banner into new countries. They were working as part of a program the Israeli government founded to help start FIRST teams in Vietnam. The CyberKnights will be hosting a new Vietnamese rookie team next summer here in Shoreline!
In August, the CyberKnights traveled to South LA for the third time to work at Adventures Ahead, an inner-city outreach center that is focused on reaching children in a neighborhood heavily impacted by gangs and the gang lifestyle. Three years ago the CyberKnights helped Adventures Ahead secure a $10,000 Google grant funding the purchase of LEGO robot kits and laptops. This effort has grown a sustained robotics education program and FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team that has touched the lives of many children, helping develop new trajectories of success.
Also in August, King’s Elementary hosted a Lego Symposium at which 80 educators from King’s Schools and surrounding public and private schools came together to attend six engaging, hands-on workshops focused on bringing STEM and other 21st century skills to life in elementary and middle school classrooms. Elementary workshops included Story Starter, More to Math and Wedo 2.0, while middle school workshops included EV3 Mindstorms, Machines & Mechanism and Pneumatics. Administrators and teachers discovered how the LEGO Education building experience can help students develop their analytical thinking, creativity, collaboration and problem solving skills.
King’s Schools’ love and passion for robotics has grown each year since the program began 9 years ago. We look forward to seeing where robotics will take us in 2016-17!