FLORIDA, Mass. — Twenty Abbott Memorial School students participated in the Berkshire Robotics Challenge marking the school's return to the competition.
Students from Grades 3 through 7participated in the competition on Saturday, March 18, at Taconic High School.
"For the students, it is pure application-based learning. The anticipation of participating in a competition increases the stakes for the students — there's something more meaningful than an abstract grade on the line," said voach Tim Herrmann. "For some students, the challenge is learning that failure is the best teacher; programming errors and flaws in building design can be frustrating, but the students learn to persevere and keep trying."
Herrmann, who has a passion for applied science and technology, spearheaded the school's re-entry and said the last time Abbott attended the Berkshire Robotics Challenge was more than six years ago.
He said students have met twice a week since December to train and learn about the various "missions" of the challenge, and then design and build a robot to accomplish a few missions.
"After building the robot, students then begin learning to program the robot to move and interact with the different elements on the competition board," he said.
Herrmann said students base their designs on a few simple models that can be found on the Lego Education website.
"Usually, the building part is easy. The programming is the hardest challenge that the students face because the performance of the robot requires precise movement and consistent positioning at the start," he said. "One of the biggest lessons early on is the propagation of error; small degrees of error add up rather quickly."
Herrmann said, as a coach, part of his job is to know when to step away and let students work through problems on their own.
"One of the core tenets of the program is that the students are encouraged to do the heavy lifting of thinking through problems, coming up with solutions, and testing those solutions," he said. "That's a big task for students who think that the answers to every question can be found through a Google search."
The actual Berkshire Robotics Challenge is a stand-alone event that follows the structure of the First Lego League Challenge. Teams register for the competition in early autumn.
At the competition, teams present their robots for inspection, where judges look at the design and build of the robot, as well as the programming. Each team participates in four rounds of running missions on the challenge board trying to score as many points as possible.
This year, the top eight teams then competed in elimination rounds until there was one team that scored the most points.
Herrmann said in addition to the "game," as the mission challenge is known, teams are judged on team spirit, sportsmanship, and completion of an optional project based on the theme of the competition. This year's theme was SuperPowered.
Herrmann said Abbott Memorial School fielded two teams at the competition this year: A-B0T Power, composed of 3rd and 4th-graders, and A-B0T United, composed of students in Grades 5 through 7.
"A-B0T Power performed admirably under some difficult circumstances with last-minute changes to programming and came away from the competition with a treasure trove of experience to build on for next year," he said. "A-B0T United came in 9th place, one spot out of making it to the final 8."
Herrmann said he is looking forward to future competitions.
"Coaching the robotics club has been one of the highlights of my career in education," he said. "Next year I'm hoping to break down our 20-student group from two teams to four, to give more students a chance to be more involved in the competition."
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North Adams Mayor's Fitness Challenge June 2023
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Mayor's Fitness Challenge (MFC) is back for the month of June, calling on the community to make a conscientious effort at healthier habits by participating in this community-wide fitness challenge.
This will be the 7th Annual MFC for North Adams.
Community members of all ages are encouraged to register and participate either as individuals or as part of a team, to wrack up points for the chance to earn prizes at the conclusion of the challenge. Participants will be working to build and track points by eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and participating in physical activity. There are also daily challenges for points.
Registration will be held on Thursday, June 1, and Friday June 2, 2023. nbCC will be tabling in front of the office, located at 61 Main Street, North Adams, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
on June 1, registering participants and handing out tracking packets and t-shirts. On June 2, members of the nbCC team will begin the day at 7:30 a.m. at the kick-off of the Eagle Street Coffee Date series, signing participants up while they enjoy free coffee and baked goods hosted by Mayor Macksey and the City of North Adams.
The Coalition team will also be registering participants during June's First Friday festivities which will include the Mayor's Fitness Challenge Kick-off. The theme of June's First Friday is "Proud of Progress" and will include the painting of a new street mural, exhibition openings, live music and business specials.
The MFC kick-off event will include registration, free games, demonstrations from various local MFC partners, information tables, and activities located either on Main Street or Eagle Street. Some examples of activities include a gong bath at the Terra Nova Church space on Main Street, a bike rodeo on Eagle Street, and free smoothies hosted by the First Baptist Church youth group. Mayor Macksey will be out and about and plans to demonstrate some sparring with Gail Grandchamp. Registration for MFC will be available from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Just look for the nbCC tables and MFC shirts! T-shirts are in limited supply and will be first come, first served.
Weekly events in this year's challenge include outdoor yoga classes, lawn games at Windsor Lake, the downtown bike around, and weekly hikes in places like the Cascades, Tannery Falls, Sunset Rock Trail, and Natural Bridge State Park. Additionally, several local fitness studios will be offering deals of membership, free classes, and other incentives to participate.
The challenge runs throughout the month of June. The final day to track points will be Monday, June 26, and all participants must turn in their tracking packets by 6:00 p.m. that afternoon. There will be a Wrap Party at Windsor Lake, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. where the individual and team winners will be announced and receive their prizes. There will be live music from the band Pandemic Relief, lawn games and everyone is encouraged to bring a picnic dinner. Snacks will also be available for purchase from the BFAIR concession stand.
This event has been organized by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, the North Adams Mayor's Fitness Challenge Planning Team, and the City of North Adams. The full calendar of MFC Events can be found below, online at nbccoalition.org calendar page, or on the back of the MFC points tracker that every participant receives. For daily updates or weather announcements, participants can follow the nbCC facebook or instagram accounts.
2023 MFC Schedule
Week 1 | June 1-3 |Registration & Kick-off
6/1 | 8:30a.m. - 6p.m. | nbCC Office, 61 Main Street, North Adams - Register teams/individuals & pick up your MFC packets and t-shirts
6/2 | 7:30 - 9:00a.m. | Eagle St. - Register during the Eagle Street Coffee Date kick-off sponsored by Mayor Macksey and the City.
5:00-8:00 p.m. | Eagle St. - Register during First Friday and enjoy MFC kick-off events and activities!
6/3 | 9a.m.-1p.m. | Shop at the North Adams Farmers Market.
9:30-11a.m. | Help the River St. Community Gardening Group
11:30a.m. | Walk w/ Mayor Macksey at Natural Bridge (Transportation available)
2:00p.m. | ROOTs Teen Center/nbCC Bike Collective Build a Bike Workshop | 206 Ashland St.
Week 2 | June 4 - 10th
6/4 - 10:00a.m. | Basketball games | Noel Field Courts, 310 State St.
7:15p.m. | Relaxation Yoga | North Adams Yoga, 26 Holden St.
6/5 - 3:30-5:30p.m. | Bike Collective Workshop hours | 206 Ashland St.
5:30p.m. | Downtown Bike Around | 206 Ashland St.
6/6 - 12:00-1:00p.m. | BHS: Top 10 Most Powerful Lifestyle Interventions | UNO Center, 157 River St.
5:00p.m. | Tick Talk w/ CHP | UNO Center, 157 River St.
6/7 - 5:30p.m. | Evening at Windsor Lake: Intro to Disk Golf, live music, pack a picnic | Windsor Lake, Kemp Ave & Bradley St.
Gianna Pesce scored five goals and assisted on two more Wednesday to lead the Mount Greylock girls lacrosse team to a 19-2 win over Pope Francis in the title game of the Western Massachusetts Class B tournament. click for more