How can the field of robotics find innovative solutions to the supply chain crisis and other issues? The Digi-Bridge robotics teams who competed at the Robotics Showcase have some answers!
After months of hard work, the six middle school teams in the Digi-Bridge robotics league participated in a LEGO League competition on Saturday, April 2nd. The competition included a chance for students to showcase their designs, to discuss solutions to supply chain problems and to attend a resources fair. The day provided an opportunity for students, their families, and community partners to come together in the name of STEAM education.
Before we dive into what happened at the showcase, we wanted to thank our funding sponsors. Without these amazing community partners, the showcase wouldn’t have been possible:
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund – Program Sponsor
- Lowe’s – Program and Resource Fair Sponsor
- Trane Technologies – Resource Fair Sponsor
- LendingTree – Space Sponsor
- Ally Bank – Swag Sponsor
“When we created the LendaHand Alliance Cohort with local organizations like Digi-Bridge, we
knew we wanted it to be more than providing resources, a facility, and capital,” said April
Whitlock, Executive Director of The LendingTree Foundation. “We wanted to build genuine
relationships that would give us, not only the opportunity to serve our community, but to inspire
the youth of tomorrow to dream bigger and to allow our employees to lean in and be a part of a
mission greater than themselves.”
The competition took place at the beautiful, new LendingTree Headquarters. Students first started by presenting their robots. Five of the six middle school teams were from local Title I schools while the sixth time was a Digi-Bridge community team who practiced at the Digi-Bridge office. Each team had 7-15 members.
The middle schools teams included:
- GVSA Precision from Governors’ Village STEM Academy
- Cougar Bots from Governors’ Village STEM Academy
- Team Lit! from Northridge Middle School
- STEAM Mastermind from Governors’ Village STEM Academy
- Robotics Eagles from Renaissance West STEAM Academy
- Team Phoenix, the community team from various schools
Some teams have been preparing for the competition since October and the hard work of the students was reflected in their designs. Each team had two coaches who were trained, certified teachers. These coaches facilitated weekly meetings and provided support throughout the practices and the recent competition.
The students’ robotics designs were based on the FIRST LEGO curriculum. This curriculum is based on FIRST LEGO’s core values: discovery, fun innovation, impact, inclusion, and teamwork. These designs were displayed on the competition table to family and invited guests.
The second part of the competition was an interview with judges about their designs and the innovation project. Many of the innovation projects centered around Cargo Connect, an initiative to come up with robotics-based solutions to current cargo and supply chain problems.
The team interviews included asking students to explain their robot designs and about real world solutions to cargo problems. This provided an excellent opportunity for students to reflect on their own designs as well as how they could use their STEAM skills to improve the world.
“Building truly outstanding products is one of our core principles at LendingTree, and that’s
exactly what Digi-Bridge participants did at the Robotics Showcase,” said Jill Olmstead,
LendingTree Chief Human Resources Officer. “These entrepreneurial-minded students
impressed me with their innovation and curiosity, and as this next generation continues to hone
their STEAM skills, I’m hopeful many will return to LendingTree when it’s time to begin their
In order to extend the impact of the competition, Digi-Bridge organized a resource fair for the students and their families. The fair connected students to other STEAM programs and provided information on Charlotte high school options to further their STEAM education.
The resource partners included:
- Dottie Rose Foundation
- Queen Rose Robotics Alliance
- Per Scholas
- Do Greater Foundation
- She Built This City
- Road To Hire
- Hack Hustle Academy
- Potions and Pixels
- Discovery Place
- TRANE Technologies
During the day, students also had the chance to enjoy lunch and cake to celebrate their efforts. And they had much to celebrate! The robotics designs and the answers they gave the judges during the interviews were insightful and innovative. The students and their work reflect how STEAM scholars can transform the world and Charlotte for the better.
Want to support our robotics showcase in the future? We’re currently looking for additional sponsors. If interested, please email Alyssa Sharpe, Digi-Bridge’s CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org