Students at West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford School held a day-long robotics scrimmage that served as a learning experience for all involved.
Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School
What if you had a robotics scrimmage and everyone came, but no one other than the Kingswood Oxford team had a working robot?
That was the case on Nov. 4, when 11 teams from across Connecticut, the most ever, attended the KO scrimmage. Instead of running matches, the teams collaborated, learned, problem solved, and advised one another in what can be called a huge win for all the attendees.
The day-long program started with a discussion led by engineer Thomas Eng from US FIRST, a nonprofit that encourages young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Rather than run matches, the students asked questions about design and programming, and KO team members sent programmers and builders to assist the other teams in their endeavors and help refine their creations.
Phoebe Taylor ’18 of Glastonbury said 80 percent of the work in robotics is troubleshooting and debugging. “Although it was great that our robot was working and lifting blocks, helping rookie teams is really rewarding. Last year, we were the novice team, and I wished someone could have helped us out.”
FIRST Robotics, which spearheads programming, robotics and coding efforts in schools, main mission is to not only foster an enthusiasm for and interest in technology but also encourages collaborative work. Taylor explained that programming can be a solitary activity, but in order to truly succeed one needs to work with others. She said, “You can try to go it alone, but you’re only going to go so far. Programming does become social because there are so many different ways to approach a problem. And, you do that by asking people, ‘What are you doing?’ and “How are you solving that problem?’”
Matthew Safalow ’19 of Rocky Hill said of the event, “It was really awesome, and it was the greatest showing ever.”
Kingswood Oxford is the preeminent co-ed college preparatory day school in West Hartford, just steps from Blue Back Square and conveniently located minutes from I84. It serves 508 students from 62 towns across Connecticut, western Massachusetts and China. A KO education fosters ethical leaders, confident communicators and innovative problem solvers.