Remote robotics: Galaxy Girls went through an unusual pandemic year
The Galaxy Girls, a robotics team of fifth-grade students from Solana Ranch Elementary School, competed in their highly anticipated FIRST Lego League qualifier on March 13. In the tournament, which had been postponed since November due to the pandemic, the girls placed fourth. out of 20 teams.
This year’s team members include Emily Cameron, Joanna Kim, Disha Ramachandran, Isla Vijayendran, Audrey Young and Phoebe Young. During the tournament, their robot scored 360 points out of their maximum potential of 385 points, for a capture rate of 94%.
The Galaxy Girls started meeting in mid-August 2020 and have spent the last seven months preparing for this season’s ‘Gamechangers’ themed challenge. During this unusual year of the pandemic, they met twice a week and had to get creative using Zoom, socially distant meetings and even used a staggered tag team approach to work on their robot. . They used Minecraft to build their model project so that they could work together but remotely as a team.
The innovation project that the team developed this year is a mobile “Woof and Walk” program that pairs participants with shelter dogs and allows them to “borrow” the dogs for walks in community spaces such as neighborhood parks, Del Mar dog beach and local seniors. centers. The goal is to motivate people to go out and exercise in open spaces by providing them with dog companionship. As an added benefit, the program could help shelter dogs find future homes.
The girls met with the Helen Woodward Animal Center, the San Diego Humane Society, and local medical and exercise professionals as they discussed their ideas.
Although the Galaxy Girls didn’t win any trophies this year, the team were well received by the judges and scored high in their Live Zoom Q&A sessions which covered robot design, their innovation research project and their fundamental values. Their enthusiastic answers during the Q&A earned Coach Mike Young this year’s Mentor Award.
—- Billing Karen