Cville girls show their stuff in tech competitions
Students at St. Anne’s-Belfield School start learning to code in kindergarten, and by 6th grade they’re programming robots.
Abby Reed and Eliza Powers built their small robot out of Legos and have written a program that prompts it to complete a series of tasks.
“We use our computers to code it, and so we say, like, 'Move right or move left or make the angle go this way.'”
By 8th grade, Sage Rademaker’s team could design a robot that completes 15 missions, and as part of a regional competition, they undertook a project that combined technology with art. First, they wrote a book called Lily’s Adventure and published it on Amazon.
"Once upon a time in a quiet little town between the hills, there lived a child named Lily. Lily didn’t just live in nature. She loved nature. Nothing made her happier than frolicking in the woods in her back yard."
Next, they built a website where people could get the book and begin their own adventure, planting native trees.
"It’s called Seeds to Trees. You go on there and request free native tree seeds. You can come do a pickup, where we will be handing them out for free, and you can get our book in English, Spanish and as an audio book."
They won the regional contest and are now headed to national competition in Houston.
Meanwhile, Abby and Eliza are preparing to compete in Minnesota where this year’s Kid Wind contest will showcase dozens of wind turbines designed by students. Their teacher, Robbie Munsey, says they’re determined to win.
"The all-girls Kid Wind group call themselves the invent-hers. They schedule me every week on days when they’re going to design and laser cut and CAD up their latest ideas. I go to the lab when they tell me to, and we get things made."
The students work after school and on weekends, but it’s a labor of love.
"It’s very fun. It’s like the best part of school," says Powers. "Mondays and Fridays were sad, because we didn’t have robotics," Reed adds.
If they win, it’ll be the second year for St. Anne’s Belfield which took top honors last year with a turbine made using 3-D printing.