The Amazing Beasley Turkey Train Robot Race

“Welcome to the Turkey Train Race!” called out Robyn Williams, Lower School Instructional Technology and Digital Literacy Coordinator, at the beginning of a Beasley Assembly that took place exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving. Lower Schoolers were all a-flutter that morning as they looked forward to a new version of Turkey Train on campus—the Lower School Turkey Train Race!

Although our community is very familiar with the annual Turkey Train tradition, which has been celebrated for two decades at our School, Lower School had an additional, special turkey event of their own this year! Prior to the assembly, each third- and fourth-grade class came down to the Lower School Makerspace, where they were given a quick introduction to Ozobots, which are tiny, round robots. They learned how to control the small bots using iPads. From there, they were allowed five minutes to practice driving the Ozobots before they raced off around a track in a timed competition.
This wasn’t just any racetrack, though! It was designed with a feast for creativity by Lower School Physical Education Teachers Jim Lohr and Sue Orlando. Racers headed down MAC & CHEESE ALLEY before making a tight RAMEN RIGHT-HAND TURN and heading into TURKEY TUNNEL. Once they exited the tunnel, they wove through the CORN MAZE and out into CORN MUFFIN CURVE before taking a left turn into the CHICKEN CORKSCREW. The final stretch took the racers down PUMPKIN PIE PARKWAY before there was a mad dash to deliver the canned goods to the FOOD BANK FINISH LINE!


“This was such a cool collaboration between me in technology, Lower School Visual Arts Teacher Sarah Garner with the Beasley Broadcast, and Jim and Sue in PE as the ‘turkey trainers’ and track designers,” said Williams. “It started with an idea I had to incorporate the Ozobots by using them in some sort of robot race to showcase the Turkey Train/Foodbank, and then Sarah used her creativity and tech skills to come up with such fun videos promoting the race and the Foodbank canned goods drive. She also drew turkeys that we attached to the Ozobots on race day.

“Jim and Sue were instrumental in designing and creating the track, while I 3D-printed the wagons and canned goods for the turkeys to pull along. We even worked together to figure out how to livestream the race onto two screens in the music studio so all the students and teachers could watch it in real time. It was such a fun collaboration between the teachers and for such a great cause. Special thanks to the third and fourth-grade teachers for bringing their classes down and sharing in our excitement for the Turkey Train Robot Races!”
Congratulations to the winning turkey, Fluffy, who was raced by Adele L. ’33! Also, way to go to all of the other turkeys and racers: Bob raced by Nicholas L. ’33, Gobbles raced by Cameron F. ’32, Ginger raced by Shayaan R. ’32, and Butter raced by Brandon D. ’32. The race, of course, included two student referees, Ava H. ’32 and Aliya C. ’32.