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Two RFSD robotics teams head to state December 7
December 5, 2019

This year, two Roaring Fork Schools are sending robotics teams to the FIRST LEGO League state competition on December 7 in Denver: Glenwood Springs Middle School (GSMS) and Basalt Middle School (BMS). A total of 69 teams are registered for the state competition.

The FIRST LEGO League is a global robotics competition that engages children ages 9 to 16 in research, problem solving, coding, and engineering through robotics challenges that are based on a real-world scientific topic. This year’s topic is "city shaper" where teams have to identify a problem with a building or public space in the community, design a solution, and then present the project.

GSMS’s team, the Cougar Robo-inventors, will be returning to the state competition for the second time since the team was established four years ago. The team competed in Grand Junction in November. Their project is based on generating electricity through specialized shoes that harvest the kinetic energy created by walking that the city then pays individuals for through charge stations. The team placed third in the robot games, second in the innovation project, and first in core values. Adam Cartwright, an eighth grade math teacher at GSMS, and Jaimal Proctor are coaching the team this year. The team has five students who participate in this after-school club.

BMS fielded two teams this year at the regional competition in Aspen. Both arose out of enrichment classes where students learn to program the LEGO robots.

“LEGO robotics helps students develop problem solving strategies using both teamwork and engineering,” says science teacher Amy Kaufmann, who has coached the team for the past three years.

BMS has had a team since 2012 and has a long history of winning regional trophies or qualifying for states nearly every year since then. This year one team responded to the challenge prompt, “What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin?” by raising funds to help reseed the Lake Christine Burn area. The second team, the LEGO Longhorns, redesigned an empty building in the heart of downtown Basalt into a youth center. They presented their concept to Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney and Planning Director Susan Philp. The team won a “golden ticket” spot to advance to the state competition.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School also has a robotics team, the GSES Grizzlies, that competed in November in Aspen with 24 other teams. The team has nine students and is coached by GSES PEAK teacher Barb Hovde-Brown. This is the sixth year the school has had a team, and two of those years the team has competed at state.
Roaring Fork Schools Board of Education