January 21, 2020

Martin & Riverside MS Students at Robotics Championship January 11th at RWU

Robotics teams hard at work in both schools

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East Providence Middle School robotics teams have been two of the more active middle school teams in Rhode Island. Both have qualified for a state championship match this month. The Riverside Middle school team, called “Magnetech” has created an invention to provide cleaner and less expensive electricity to East Providence residents. The Magnetech Robotics Team includes five eighth grade students from Riverside Middle School who have qualified to compete in the RI First LEGO League Robotics Championship event held on the campus of Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI on Saturday, January 11, 2020.

"Our team excelled at the recent RI First LEGO League Qualifier Tournament held on December 8, 2019 at the Rocky Hill School in Warwick, RI. The team won an award for having the best robot design and finished a close second in the overall robot game point total," said RMS teacher and team coach John Marsula.

The Magnetech Team has developed a research project based on this year's First Lego League (FLL) theme: “City Shaper”. The First LEGO League is a middle school robotics challenge that is undertaken by middle school aged students in all over the world. This year, in addition to programming a robot, the team was required to create an innovative solution to the following: find a way to improve cities and solve modern problems.

"Our team has developed the idea of a semi-perpetual energy source that involves magnets.

Perpetuity has been proven impossible by Clausius' Laws of Thermodynamics - but semi-perpetuity has not," said Marsula. "Furthermore, the teams’ project involves neodymium magnets in a wheel shape, thus powering a generator. This idea could be used to power homes around the world - giving us a more efficient energy source and saving Rhode Island and especially East Providence residents money," added Marsula.

The Riverside team shared its concept for magnets as an alternative energy source with the Electrical/Carpentry program’s senior class at the East Providence Career and Technical Center. "The Career Center electrical teacher, Mr. Tom Heatherton, has met with our team on several occasions to provide feedback and to share the suggestions made by his senior class at the Career and Technical Center," said Marsula.

"John Marsula has built a really strong program at Riverside Middle School. He works with the kids beginning on the first day of school," said Riverside Middle School principal Robert Perry. "They are really devoted to the team and it shows in competition. This year's team is made up of some really talented kids and Mr. Marsula is getting the best from them.

We have had a long tradition of producing top-notch students at our two middle schools who go on to become leaders in their classes at EPHS. But with the long-time success of our sports teams, sometimes our scholars get overshadowed. It's refreshing to be able to promote the efforts and real successes of our scholars. These kids are the leaders of tomorrow. They very well may use the lessons they have learned programming robots to develop innovations that change the world. I feel hopeful for the future knowing that individuals like those on Mr. Marsula's team are part of our community," added Principal Perry.

The Riverside class is seeking feedback from the community with their effort. "If you have a background in electricity and are interested in helping out the team or to learn more about this creative project, check out the Magnetech sites.google.com/epschoolsri.com/magnetech," asks the middle school team. Mangetech’s coach, Mr. John Marsula, can be reached at jmarsula@epschoolsri.com. The Magnetech Robotics Team includes: Will Laroche, Tiana Brierly, Nathan Tavares, Aidan Lombardo and Jayden Carlson. Coaches are John Marsula, Riverside Middle School Robotics Teacher and Donna Hallal, Speech Pathologist, Silver Spring Elementary School.

The Martin Middle School team has also been very successful with Robotics education. "Under the leadership of teacher Tom Hargreaves, our Martin Middle School Robotics Teams practices each day after school. Our Robotics Club students from grades 6-8 are engaged in hands-on experiences, building confidence, growing their knowledge and develop habits of learning," said Martin principal William Black. "Mr. Hargreaves and his students have been preparing diligently for robotics competition. His program is built around theme-based challenges to engage students in research, problem solving, coding, and engineering. The two teams that will represent Martin Middle School are 'The Pedestrians' and the 'Champions of the City'," added Black.

On December 7th, three Robotics teams from Martin competed in the First Lego League Qualifiers Match at Martin Middle School. There were nineteen other schools from around the state of Rhode Island. "Two out of our three Robotics teams from MMS scored so well that they made it to the State Championship to be held on January 11th at Roger Williams University," said Black. "The Robotics Club emphasizes teamwork, discovery, and innovation. Our students emerge more confident, excited, and equipped with the skills they need in a changing workforce. We are proud of the Martin and Riverside Middle School students, teachers and families as they continue their journey to Roger Williams University on Saturday, January 11th."

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