October 9, 2012 > Robots Rule!
Submitted By TR Newcomb
Photos By Kyle Ryan
On the evening of September 28, two NASA-sponsored robotics teams brought their creations to thrill and educate students and parents of Mattos Elementary School in Fremont. The special event was organized and hosted by the school's Science Committee.
The main attraction, the all-boys, "Cheesy Poofs Team 254" and all-girls, "Space Cookies Team 1868" brought robotics right into the center of school with an exhibition of automated basketball.
After the demonstrations, the teams generously raffled opportunities for lucky students to experience the thrill of controlling a robot. The event concluded with a question and answer session. Students were able to ask a wide variety of questions, including where the teams get their ideas for building their robots and how long it takes to build them. Attendees also had a chance to examine the robots up close and see how the robots are designed and controlled.
Both the robotics teams and the Mattos School community thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Team members were enthusiastic and had fun demonstrating their robots, while the school auditorium was filled with the sounds of "oohs" and "aahs" as the robots moved in their high-tech dance. Mattos students were riveted and parents had a wonderful time, too. One of the parents said, "I left last night with a huge smile on my face and I know I wasn't the only one!"
The boys' team is made up entirely of students from Bellarmine College Preparatory, while the girls' team is drawn from high schools all over the Bay Area. According to team members Sarah and Maddy, the team is open to any girl in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Space Cookies is divided up into four main areas: Mechanical, Electrical, Programming and Business. They typically build one robot each year designed to solve a specific task or set of tasks. While these teams range from grades 8 - 12, there are also programs for younger children, such as the First LEGO League (FLL) and the VEX Robotics. Both teams have won many national awards, and the Cheesy Poofs won the 2012 World Championships.
Mattos Elementary School is the only school in the Fremont Unified School District with a Science Magnet Program called "Soaring into Science." Mattos has a dedicated science teacher, a science lab for grades 1 - 6 and holds at least three science-related events per year for its students and families. To learn more about the school and its science program, visit: www.fremont.k12.ca.us/Domain/1173