December 5, 2020

Cayman Prep High School Cyber Rays LEGO Robotics Team advance to FL State Tournament

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Cyber Rays at Regional Orlando Feb Cyber Rays, the Cayman Prep High School robotics club, won the coveted Core Values trophy at the regional First Lego League tournament in Orlando, FL, on February 2, and advance to Florida State Championship to be held at the University of Central Florida on March 3.

On Feb 2, the Cyber Rays, a team of robotics club students from year 8 and 9 from the Cayman Prep High School, competed in the Central Florida Regional First Lego League (FLL) tournament in Orlando, FL.  The award of the Core Values trophy ensured that they advance to the State Championship, a feat the team were able to accomplish last year also.

28 teams competed in the one day tournament, with 9 gaining coveted invitations to advance to the Florida State Championship to be held March XX at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL.  At the Florida State Championship the team will face 48 teams from five FLL regions in Florida.

The 2013 Cyber Rays are Bronsan Hunt, Ryan Kirkaldy, Nick Crawshaw, Mike Boucher and Drew Milgate.  The coaches are Allison Smith (Teacher), David Kirkaldy and Jeff Boucher.  They were supported at the event by several team members from another Cay Prep robotics team, the Techno Turtles, who unfortunately did not advance past the earlier qualifier round in Clearwater, FL.

The event comprised a table run with 19 potential missions to complete within the 2.5 minute round.  The highest score of three rounds was counted.  The missions are intentionally set that no team can hope to have a perfect score, meaning decisions must be made on the viability of certain missions that are high scoring but inconsistent in execution versus lower scoring missions that can give a respectable score consistently.  The Cyber Rays highest scoring mission was 325 points.

The Core Values trophy is one of the few that the team did not win during its first season in 2012.  To quote the FLL website, “Core Values are the cornerstones of the FLL program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

Robotics is now a part of the curriculum at Cayman Prep High School using the exciting and varied LEGO NXT programmable brick system and accessory sensors.  Cayman Prep sponsored Ms. Allison Smith, ICT teacher and Cyber Ray’s head coach, who completing five days of training at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Pittsburgh, PA, two years ago.  The NREC is part of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, a world-renowned robotics organization.  Ms. Smith, like all students at NREC, was introduced to the Lego robots and NXT-G programme as a part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum.  Much of that training has now found its way into the Prep School curriculum with robotics an integral part of many classes.

“If the students have the skills to play games on the computer then they have the skills to program a robot,” said Ms. Smith. “The NXT-G programming software uses a graphics user interface to create very intricate programs which students are able to use to interact with their robots. The CPHS robotics programme is designed to engage students and develop their STEM skills. I am proud to be a part of this education revolution in the Cayman Islands.”

The Cyber Rays team went all the way to the First Lego League World event in 2012, and in the same year, through their presentation, were the recipients on behalf of the Cayman Prep School of an $8,000 grant from the DMS Organization.

“As parents, to see our children be given the chance to excel and then for them to seize the opportunity and find success as a complete team is very rewarding,” commented Mr. Alan Milgate, parent of Cyber Ray team member Drew.  “We could not be more proud of this group for their continued achievements, team spirit, national pride and the excitement with which they look forward to their next challenge.”

Drew added, “we go off on a trip as a team and enjoy one of the most amazingly fun competitions and, at the end of it all, we realize that we have learned so much.”

“The benefits of the FLL are program are incredible,” noted Mr. Boucher. “At a young age, the children are given a fantastic introduction to robotics, including building and programming the robot to respond to various sensory inputs and to control motors and mechanical devices attached to the robot.  They also research and present a comprehensive science project, developing skills that will benefit them throughout life.  They do all this in a very competitive but fun and supportive environment.”

On March 1 the Cyber Rays will travel back to Orlando to the University of Central Florida, the second largest university in the United States and a leader in engineering sciences, to represent the Cayman Islands and Cayman Prep High School at the Florida State First Lego League Championship.

FLL

In 1998, FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the LEGO Group’s Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen joined forces to create FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a powerful program that engages children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology through the FIRST experience. Dean and Kjeld have a shared belief that FLL inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology.

Website – http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll

 

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