School teams’ mechanical marvels meet

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Dozens of students from Riverdale schools flocked to the Javits Center from March 16 to March 18 for fierce competition involving robots, LEGOs, basketball and bowling. 

Horace Mann, the Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy and the Bronx High School of Science all built robots for the three-day New York City FIRST Mega Weekend competition in which teams’ robo-creations battled it out in an arena in front of screaming crowds of technology-loving students.  

There are three types of competition in the tourney and teams can compete in any or all of them. The FIRST Robotics Competition involved large robots playing “Rebound Rumble,” a basketball-like game in which students’ creations shot basketballs into hoops attached to a wall and positioned at a variety of different heights. Bronx Science’s Sciborgs and Fe (iron) Maidens and BETA’s Tek Evolution all competed. 

“[It’s] absolutely wonderful. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve had fun,” senior Nicole Calace, captain of the all-girls Fe Maidens, said.

“It gave me engineering experience … but it also helped me confirm my decision to pursue engineering,” she later added. 

Horace Mann’s Basement Lions participated in the First Tech Challenge in which smaller robots played “Bowled Over!” a game similar to bowling. The HM Lions took part in the FIRST LEGO League, which involved building autonomous robots out of the popular childhood toy. 

On March 16, a day focused on practice, robot assembly and inspection, students from Bronx Science and BETA could be seen tweaking their robots, running around frantically looking for additional parts and, in the case of Bronx Science, competing against other schools in an arena. 

 

Leadership skills

 

“By doing this … I’ve, like, gotten better leadership skills and it’s gives me something to do after school,” BETA senior and vice captain Nia Brown said, adding, “It’s actually been fun, even though you get stressed out.”

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