North Bay Mentor Bryan Kelso talks strategy with Ryan Kuntsi, Xavier Mara, Rowan Leblanc and Samuel Pennings at Assiginack Public School.

Pontiac, Central, two from Assigniack all up for the challenge

MINDEMOYA—Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) hosted Manitoulin Island’s first multi-team Lego robotics conference. Mindemoya’s FIRST Lego League (FLL) team was joined by the two Assigninack teams for workshops put on by several mentors from the North Bay robotics teams.

“It is a great opportunity for the Manitoulin teams to get together, sharpen their skill sets, and see what each team has been up to since the start of build season,” noted Assiginack mentor Chris Mara.

FLL teams design, build and program a robot based on Lego Mindstorms technology to solve a series of tasks based on real-world challenges. Teams also research a real-world problem and are challenged to find a solution. This year’s theme is hydro dynamics and focusses on the human water cycle.

Two challenge tables with 22 robot missions were set up. Teams worked with the North Bay mentors improving robot design and developing their code for the missions. Teams were given tips, and every team left feeling more confident in their chosen missions.

Mentor Bryan Kelso watches as Chris White, Xavier Mara and Noah Holmes take the lead coding the robot.

“We are very grateful for the expertise of the North Bay teams. They travelled all this way to help us improve our game,” Mr. Mara added.

The teams also rotated through brainstorming and project development sessions. Each team has worked to identify a problem with the sourcing, delivery, use, or disposal of water by humans and is developing an innovative solution to their problem. Issues teams identified ranged from agricultural challenges to household challenges.

There are currently four FLL teams on Manitoulin Island. One team from the Grade 7/8 class at CMPS, and is mentored by Margit Alberti. Two teams run out of Assiginack Township and Library, and are mentored by Mark Gibeault, Margit Alberti and Chris Mara. The fourth team is mentored by Catherine Harley and Adrian Rampersad at the Pontiac School in Wikwemikong.

Jessica Kelso and Heather Kelso facilitate project brainstorming as Margit Alberti works with the CMPS team.

The teams are inspired by the success of Wiikwemkoong’s FRC team 5672, which has been working to inspire STEM involvement on Manitoulin Island. This will be the rookie competition year for all of the Manitoulin teams.

All four Manitoulin teams will be competing at the FLL competition at Dynamic Earth on December 2.

Mr. Mara noted, “All are welcome to attend, see what they have been working hard on, and cheer them on.”