The Shananagans, a robotics team from Shanahan Middle School, demonstrated their skills at a recent Olentangy Board of Education meeting.
Team members Devi, Aditi, Priyanka, Akhila, Nikhitha, Vasini, Isabelle and Anushka all wore green Shananagans T-shirts. The team brought with it “Silly Goose,” a robot it designed and built using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics sets. The sets include a programmable “brick” control center/power station, motors and sensors for touch, color and infrared detection. Once they built the robot, they had to program several commands in order for it to complete missions.
Shananagans, along with another Shanahan team, Shanizam, are supported by Ohio State University Women in Engineering Outreach and are part of the Ohio First LEGO League.
The teams competed last November in a First Lego League regional tournament at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus. The contests were judged on the basis of the project, robot challenge and core values. With its eighth-place showing, Shananagans became the first Shanahan team to ever advance to the district tournament. In the districts, held January at Dublin Jerome High School, the Shananagans did not advance to the state championships, but they did take home a trophy for “Core Values — Teamwork.”
The trophy came because the team explained to judges how they had coached a member who was sick.
Each year, the First LEGO League tackles a problem, based on a real-world scientific topic. The most recent problem involved dividing recyclables and trash.
The all-female Shananagans toured the Columbus landfill operated by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, and “decided to design a trashcan that can actually help people recycle” by sorting waste and recyclables, a team member said. The trashcans, ranging from 22- to 64-gallons, included a solar panel lid, laser scanner and separate areas for trash and recyclables. Team members told the board that such a trashcan could keep recyclables out of landfills.
In a demonstration, the remotely controlled Silly Goose took a pack of gum from board member Mindy Patrick and was going to dispose of it before before she protested, drawing laughter from the Shananagans and administrators at the meeting.
Board member Roger Bartz said he worked for an environmental company that could use innovative thinkers like the Shananagans.
“Perhaps you can partner with us,” one of the students told Bartz, to more laughter.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.