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Brief Word—November 21, 2023


Last year, thanks to the energetic leadership of Laura OGrady, Seven Hills fielded its first Lower School Lego Robotics team. In our inaugural year, a team of fourth and fifth graders successfully advanced to the regional competition. And Seven Hills took a lead role in supporting STEM education in the larger Cincinnati community by hosting a Lego League competition and welcoming 12 teams from across the metro area. 

This year, the program continues to grow. As I write, two Lower School teams are hard at work preparing for the January competition that will, once again, be hosted by Seven Hills. The students will take on a complex STEM challenge that goes well beyond robot design. In accordance with the guidelines established by FIRST LEGO League, teams are evaluated in four areas: 

  • The Robot Game — Teams use a Lego kit to design and program a robot to complete a series of challenges. 
  • The Innovation Project — This year’s theme is titled MASTERPIECE. “In the MASTERPIECE challenge, students will imagine and innovate new ways to create and communicate art across the globe.” 
  • Community Outreach — Students create a way to engage with the community, share what they have learned, and make a positive impact.
  • Gracious Professionalism — Teams demonstrate a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

Not to be outdone, a team of ninth and tenth grade students have also jumped into the deep end of robotics design and engineering. Under the guidance of Upper School teachers Marcus Twyford and Brian Berning, these students will address a design challenge that fuses coding, computer vision, mechatronics, servos, 3D fabrication, and more. The students meet twice a week after school and every other Saturday to design and build a robot to meet specific requirements of the “robot-build.” They must design, build, and program a robot to complete various tasks and score as many points as possible. All their work will culminate in competitions and qualifiers hosted this year at Loveland and Walnut Hills. 

I am proud that our rich core curriculum in STEM contains so many opportunities for our students to explore design thinking, computer science, and engineering. It’s even more exciting to watch these students opt to immerse themselves, even more fully, in these extra-curricular programs and to witness how they respond, with such creativity and commitment, to these intriguing and complex challenges. 

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