They may only be in middle school but the boys of the New Glasgow Academy robotics team are out to change their community for the better and have been working hard on the idea to do so. The club ranging in grades five to eight is student-driven and lets members learn how to create robots with LEGO kits and teaches them how to put together service projects for their community.
This year’s project segment of the competition was for teams to pick a public space or building and improve it for the community. This year’s group chose to create a plan to improve the North End Recreation Centre and make the playground more accessible for parents.
Working on the project for about two and a half months, the boys hunkered down and finished everything just in time for the November 23 competition where the team placed and is set to move on to Provincials at Acadia University.
“I was fine but when they asked us a question I was nervous,” shared Gavin Wilson, Grade 5.
Initially to create the project the students used a book one of the students’ parents had to look at the pricing of equipment and what was available, from there photos were taken of the playground and used to measure out how much space was there to work with so they could create a visual model of their plans.
“We couldn’t draw it on paper… and we wanted something 3D,” said Jacob Mullins, Grade 5. The students ended up using the popular game, Minecraft to build 3D block models of what they would like to see on the playground.
“We were pretty happy but we realized we would have to work harder,” said Wilson about finding out they had moved on to the next level and would be going to the provincial competition.
“We were really excited,” said Mekhi Reddick, Grade 5. “We also get to stay in a hotel!”
Although they admitted they were pretty nervous presenting in front of the judges and friends and family the group is excited all the same to present at Acadia on February 15. From there they are hoping that their project could go on to the national competition.
“We want to see the recreation centre re-done,” said Reddick. “Most teams would have stayed with what it was but we wanted it to take off.”
In preparation for the provincial competition, the students took the suggestion from one of the judges and pitched their idea to New Glasgow Town Council in December to show them their idea for the property and propose that a grant be put together to improve the play area and make it accessible for all.
In the meantime, the team has been preparing for their next big presentation and members have their fingers crossed that their hard work will pay off; they even have it planned out how they will celebrate if they move on to the next round. While they are not yet old enough to drink Champagne, they would like to shake up bottles of Coca-Cola and spray them in celebration, similar to winning Nascar Champagne celebrations.