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ACS students grab two Lego Robotics trophies and the label of 'geniuses'
Posted 03/08/2016 01:35PM

Mix in creativity with coding and you get a comprehensive solution for discarded electronics. 

When the solution comes from an ACS team of eight-year-olds to 15-year-olds, you get adult reactions of “This is genius!”

The 11-member team of elementary school students, middle schoolers and high schoolers presented their solution on March 5, 2016, during the sixth edition of the First Lego League, a robotics competition that takes place every year on the American University of Beirut campus, attracting students from more than 70 schools all over Lebanon.

This year, about 700 students participated, competing in four categories: research, coding (robot mission), robot design, and core values, which include teamwork, courteous professionalism and cooperation among others.
The theme for this year’s competition was “trash trek.” In other words students were asked to build robots that could help solve the trash crisis.

The ACS team chose to zero in on electronics trash.

The team grabbed first prize for research, after presenting a well thought-out plan for recycling discarded electronics, complete with a business model. They also placed among the top 10 in the coding category.

Their plan proposed first to reduce discarded electronics by asking citizens to give away unused electronics. As for spent electronics, they would crush them, remove all metallic parts, and melt them together to extract the copper in order to sell it to make electric wires.

The team had an ironic proposal: Lebanon, -- which is drowning under organic and inorganic garbage and is considering to ship it away -- would actually collect electronic trash from other countries and recycle it in order to make money in the process.

Naturally, such a proposal prompted oohs and aahs from parents and professors alike, who pulled out their smartphones and started taking snapshots of the students’ PowerPoint presentations, possibly to use them as inspiration for their own projects. To view the robot in action, please click here.

“The AUB judges told us informally that they were highly impressed with our students’ critical thinking and problem-solving abilities,” said Talar Partiyan, biology teacher and Lego Robotics coordinator, beaming with pride.

“They were able to present a very simple yet ingenious idea – We are very proud of them!” added Lama Mo’dad, Elementary School Technology Integrationist and Lego Robotics coordinator.

“This was truly entrepreneurial work,” added Partiyan. “And we had the youngest team among all schools!”

Indeed the team snapped a trophy for “creativity and running the youngest team,” in addition to the best research trophy.

Moreover ACS coordinators made sure to encourage girls to join the robotics team. The result: Almost 40 percent of team members were girls -- a statistic that stood out among other school teams.

Not only was gender balance ensured, but students were encouraged to rely on themselves instead of tech coordinators, while experimenting with their robotics mission.

“Our students do all the work themselves, from A to Z,” explained Partiyan, “which prepares them well for the unexpected.”

Partiyan also commended parents for their support, noting how some had helped train the students in coding, while many others lent their support by being present the whole day during the competition.

Proud members of the ACS team were: Sami H., Sacha G., and Roberto A. from High School; Fouad B. from Middl School; Heba Z., Dana A., Hadi AA, Giorgio R., Mazen J., Hassan D., and Nazokat M. from Elementary School.


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