Lighthouse Robotics team takes first, advances to World Robofest Competition
Pictured from left to right is Mrs. Owens, the Lighthouse Robotics team’s coach, and the Lighthouse Robotics 6 member student team: John, Elias, Tyler, Sofia, Alex, and Jakob.
The Lighthouse Robotics Renaissance Expo and live show was a big crowd pleaser and drew crowds throughout the Robofest event day as the students performed on demand. The Lighthouse exhibition project and team won the People’s Choice Award for Jr. Exhibition, Best Sportsmanship for Jr. Exhibition, and the overall Robofest Team Spirit Award.
The Lighthouse team’s Renaissance Robotics Exhibition was a complex and elaborate project combining a robotics science fair project with research and experiment expo boards, slide show, project notebooks, and website; and a Robotics live performing arts show with real time interaction between the student actors and their custom built and programed humanoid and animal based robots along with costumes, stage art and props, and live music with dance.
Robofest is an annual robotics festival and competition designed to promote and support STEM and Computer Science for students in grades 5 – 12. Robofest challenges teams of students to design, build, and program autonomous robots that compete in the Game and Exhibition categories.
The 2013 Lighthouse Robotics team’s Renaissance Robotics won first place in the Robofest Jr. Exhibition Category at Florida’s Qualifying Competition March 16, 2013 hosted at Nielsen in Oldsmar, Fla. This event is organized by Emma Alaba owner of the Clearwater based Computer Learning Center.
In addition, to winning first place in Jr. Exhibition, the Lighthouse Robotics team won People’s Choice Award for Jr. Exhibition; Jr. Exhibition Team Sportsmanship Award; and the Robofest Florida Qualifying Event Team Spirit Award.
The Lighthouse team now advances, as the top team in their division for the State of Florida, to Represent Florida and the USA in the World Competition.
Teams from around the USA and internationally compete in the Robofest World Championships to be held May 18 at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich.
The Lighthouse Robotics team meets at Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Academy (LCHA) in Tarpon Springs. The six member student team took a Beginning NXT Robotics class there with Mrs. Owens the prior year.
Starting in Sept. 2012, the Lighthouse Robotics competition student team, ages 10 to 14, met two hours per week at LCHA to develop their project. Starting in Feb. they also met an additional 2 to 4 hours at each other’s homes.
Throughout their extensive research and exhibition project’s development, the students also spent volunteer homework hours on developing research papers, costume and music ideas, and prop creation. For their project demo, the student team built and programmed several complex prototype robots. As four separate one to two person teams, they built and programmed two complex humanoid based robots and two complex animal based robots which perform interactively with them during their Jr. Exhibition show.
Mrs. Owens a part time teacher, and a former Space Shuttle Software Engineer and Global IT Specialist / Manager, coached and sponsored the Lighthouse Robotics team. Mrs. Owens supplied 2 of the 4 robots along with 3 lap tops, software, parts, etc. Further, using a nominal monthly fee, she paid for $800 worth of disposable exhibition materials such as costumes, props, stage, boards, foliage, paints, etc.
Student and parent team members Sofia and Jennifer, Elias and Susie, and John and Coach Owens also sponsored the team by supplying their own personal lap top and personal robot for the project.
Mrs. Owens taught Beginning NXT robotics classes (grade 4th – 9th) last year to the current 6 member Lighthouse Robotics student team and 19 other students. This year she is teaching 12 new Beginning Robotics students and coaching the Lighthouse Robotics Team.
Mrs. Owens wanted to share her love of computer science and robotics with students in her community by offering these nominal fee classes and by helping her local library start a free robotics program – particularly to reach out to students that might not typically have an opportunity due to costs or lack of availability.
Mrs. Owens considers Robotics to be one of the top current fields for innovation, with a projected 3000% growth in the next 10 years alone. Mrs. Owens also sees this as a unique field where STEM and multi-disciplined interests will be an asset.
The 2013 Lighthouse Robotics team consists of six “renaissance” students with personal interests and talents in robotics, computers, building with Legos, science, math, art, music, writing, history, theatre, and sports. Mrs. Owens selected the Robofest competition as one of the best robotics competitions available where the students could use their individual talents, express their own creativity, and individually innovate and research advanced robotics while still working as a team on one central project.
The 2013 Lighthouse Robotics team, as part of the LCHA Non-profit, is seeking sponsorship and fund raisers for the current Lighthouse Robotics team’s travel to Mi. on May 18th where they want to represent and win for the State of Florida and for the USA at the 2013 World Robofest Competition.
Please visit the team’s website http://lighthouserobotics.webs.com/ for more information on the team, their Robotics Renaissance: past, present, and future project (which is being enhanced further for the World event). Thank you for supporting these hard working and innovative young students.