Country School “Cougar Bots” Earn Success at Robotics Competition

New Canaan Country School’s Middle School Robotics Team participated in the eighth annual ROBOnanza!, a competition for Westchester and Fairfield County independent schools held in Greenwich, May 13. The “Cougar Bots,” (robots built completely out of LEGOs® and programmed by the fifth and sixth graders), contended against robots from other schools in three levels of challenges. 
The CSI-inspired theme of this year’s ROBOnanza! was “Forensic Frenzy.” With that in mind, the students were challenged to build robots that could travel down a lane and knock over as many burglars (pins) as possible in a 5-frame game (Bowling For Burglars); navigate to five numbered areas with various “LEGO® evidence” worth various point values (Collect the Evidence); and complete an obstacle course autonomously (Police Academy Training).

Country School sixth graders Sofie Petricone (Rowayton) and Charlotte Calderwood (Darien) took home the first place trophy for Police Academy Training, while the fifth grade team of Malcolm Stewart (Darien), Cyrus Pearson (New Canaan) and Decatur Boland (Rowayton) netted second place honors in the same category.  The Cougar Bot designed by sixth graders Tyler Rosolen (Norwalk) and Sam Cherry (Westport) scored second place in Collect the Evidence, and the fifth grade team consisting of Waverly Walters (New Canaan), Katey Charnin (Darien) and Annie Nichols (New Canaan), placed third. Sixth grader Parakram Karnik (New Canaan) scored second place in Bowling for Burglars.

Fifth grader Peter Metcalf (Darien) won a special trophy for being the only person in the competition to complete the Police Academy challenge fully. He was also cited for successfully navigating his robot around the line figure of a human body. Sixth grader Rebecca McKee (Stamford) earned praise for designing a robot which successfully navigated almost all of the “line challenges” in addition to getting out of a box. All team members took home certificates for successfully completing challenges.

“It was a great combination of STEM challenge, creative problem-solving and teamwork,” said Grade 6 Teacher Fraser Randolph. “Once again, the students worked hard and showed their resiliency in the face of challenges. Many of the robots had to be completely reprogrammed on the spot and the students did so successfully with great results.”
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