Although they had to adjust expectations and plans for this year’s robotics season, students on Middle School Math Teacher Dustin Delfin’s team jumped into their program with enthusiasm. They made the most of their situation and found creative ways to connect with each other and even with their competitors.
The team, dubbed the BZBs: Brilliant Zoom Builders, consisted of Coach Delfin, Asher Woodward ’28, Arjav Jain ’26, Samuel Muthuraj ’28, Aiyla Ahmad ’26, Eleonora Slabun ’27, Everett Ott ’26, Lilia Oulamine ’26, Matthew Hardin ’27, and Tommy Kastor ’28. Their goal, beyond competing in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) game competition, was to develop a device to inspire people to be more physically active while having fun.
First, the team began with implementing FLL’s core values—discovery, integration, inclusion, and “coopetition”—into their meeting norms. The BZBs defined each value. For Discovery, they “discovered a social distancing device and brainstormed ideas about how it would benefit people.” Integration meant that team members learned that it is useful to listen to everyone’s ideas before making a decision. This value can be used anywhere, during class, at work, and more. Inclusion involved team members listening to each other and acknowledging each other’s ideas, then investigating whether the solution would work. “We also did the robot coding together and saw how it worked and didn’t work. We took each other’s views and opinions into account to find a solution.” “Coopetition” means collaboration between competitors, in the hopes of finding mutually beneficial results.
Since the BZBs could not physically help other teams this season, they created a video to showcase “coopetition” and to send words of encouragement. The other teams loved it! The BZBs received some wonderful responses from coaches. Annie Tsai Gomez wrote, “This is so neat!! My team is going to love seeing this.” Brandon Lawrence said, “This is great!” Robotics Rulers coach Laura Pupillo shared, “We watched this last night during our practice. The Robotics Rulers loved it! Thanks for sharing.” And Andi Galluppi wrote, “My team loved it! They send well wishes back for your team. :)” The BZB team also bonded with each other by working together to complete online breakout room challenges.
FIRST LEGO League shared a video of this year’s RePlay game, which involved a playing field and 14 missions. Students were challenged to create robots to complete each mission, starting from the same “home base” each time and returning to a designated area. They could run missions in any order and used their fastest time to complete each mission. Robots were designed to run a step counter, run LEGO people down a slide, play basketball, and more. Students shared videos of their robot designs completing each of the missions.
When it came to designing their own project, the BZB team tackled motivating people of all ages to be more active while remaining socially distant. They created a list of questions they wanted answers to, then conducted interviews with Summer Beasley, Middle and Lower School Physical Education Teacher; Greg Foster, Coordinator of Student Engagement and Coach at MICDS; and Dr. Homaa Ahmad, mother of Aiyla Ahmad ’26.
They used the findings of their research to design an app with an accompanying wrist band that would motivate people to stay fit while also maintaining social distance during the pandemic. Both the app and the wristband would be customizable, offering lots of options for a variety of people of all ages.
It looks like Team BZB had a great time and created some wonderful solutions during their nine-week experience. Way to go, Brilliant Zoom Builders!
You can check out all the work of these creative students on their website. Enjoy photos, videos, and more!