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Shrewsbury Montessori School Robotics Team, Red Cross Work Together

Last Tuesday the SMS Nature’s Furies First Lego League robotics team presented their project on flooding and demonstrated their winning robot design to more than 25 Disaster Services volunteers at the Worcester Chapter of the American Red Cross.  The SMS (Shrewsbury Montessori School) students Conor Cary and Nikhil Krishnan, and alumni Rhea Krishnan and Makoto Partin project on flooding and their robot were part of their entry in the First Lego League’s 2013 Nature’s Fury competition which focused on preparing for, Staying Safe in, and Rebuilding after natural disasters. 

To kickoff their research last September the team visited the Worcester chapter of the American Red Cross Disasters Services where they learned how the Red Cross responds to disasters large and small.  They learned that disasters can occur at any time or any place, some far away and some close to home. The Nature’s Furies team developed a solution to prevent flooding damage on single family homes.  “The students’ presentation of their research is extensive and impressive!” remarked a Disaster Services volunteer, adding “I suggest you copyright this creative solution for a reusable cost effective flood barrier. This approach to flooding could be very helpful to homeowners in a flood zone.”  In addition, the team’s research on global flooding disasters and the news coverage of Typhoon Haiyan inspired Conor, Nikhil, Rhea and Makoto to action! They held a series of cupcake sales raising almost $500 for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.   The first donation was presented to the Worcester Chapter Board Members in late December and the second donation was presented during the demonstration to the Disaster Services group.

After the presentation the SMS Nature’s Furies team then demonstrated the capabilities of their robot which included autonomously navigating around the Nature’s Fury’s Tournament table.  The primary goal of the robot is to accumulate as many points as possible by completing specific tasks.  Some of the tasks include collecting people, pets, and relief supplies together, simulating a tsunami, raising a home above flood waters, moving rescue vehicles, simulating earthquake solutions, and landing a rescue plane.  The SMS Nature’s Furies team won the Robot Design and Robot Performance awards for highest score at the state championship held at WPI December 2013.

The entire season was a success and all of the First Lego League teams developed some very creative solutions to deal with natural disasters all the while demonstrating the First Lego League core values which highlight discovery, teamwork, friendly competition, cooperation, and the sharing of ideas. The Worcester American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteers detailed real-life solutions to natural disasters in our country and around the world. The volunteers gave their time and in turn inspired the work of the robotics team to give back to the larger community.  This sharing and teamwork demonstrates that our future is in great hands when we nurture, inspire, and support our youth to aim high and succeed.   

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