No team in the world has scored more points in the world’s most competitive student robot contest than the Waring School Brickwolves this season.
During the awards ceremony at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Eastern Massachusetts Championship on Saturday, December 14, it was announced that the Brickwolves’ 600-point run in the tournament’s Robot Game was a new global high score. Nearly 40,000 teams from 100 countries compete in the FLL Robot Game. To date, no other team has reported a score greater than 560 points during a FLL-sanctioned competition.
At the Eastern Massachusetts Championship, the Brickwolves also performed exceptionally well in the Innovation Project, Robot Technicial Judging, and Core Values components of the championship to take home the first-place Champions Award given to the tournament’s top team. The Champions Award qualifies Waring School for the FLL World Championship for the second consecutive year.
“It feels really good to be going back to the World Championship,” said freshman Chris Douglas. “But it feels even better to have everyone going this year.” Last season, Waring School, a co-ed day school for grades 6-12 in Beverly, split their varsity FLL competitors into two teams. Both performed very well at the Eastern Massachusetts Championship, but only the top team advances each year to the World Championship. That meant half of the team stayed home. “It felt weird to take only half the team,” said freshman Owen Cooper. “They helped so much but couldn’t go.” This year, the two squads combined forces with the goal of returning to the World Championship together.
A large team meant the Brickwolves could accomplish even more within the FLL season. They’ve taken their Robot Game to new heights but have also designed a Student Carbon Calculator Curriculum as part of their Innovation Project and have sought multiple ways to share their FLL knowledge and experience with other robotic programs.
The Brickwolves’ Student Carbon Calculator Curriculum meets Massachusetts Department of Education Standards and teaches students how to measure the operational and embodied carbon in their school buildings. The curriculum also provides specific actions that students can take to decrease their school’s carbon footprint. As part of their community outreach, the team has launched a ten-session Introduction to Robotics workshop for young students at Beverly's Centerville Elementary School, hosted FLL and FLL Jr. teams for days of tutorials, and created a YouTube channel with FLL “how to” videos.
Waring continued this work at the Eastern Massachusetts Championship when word spread that they had posted the world’s best Robot Game score. For the rest of the competition, large crowds formed to watch the Brickwolves in action, other competitors and coaches asked for advice, and the Head Referee came to take photos of their game board.
Their moment to shine was earned hour by hour in the school's makerspace. The team met every Monday and Thursday throughout the semester, during most lunches and free time, and has put in 10-hour Saturdays nearly every weekend since August.
“We’ve put in so much work,” said freshman Olive Sauder. “It feels really rewarding to do so well.”
The ultimate reward came in the form of another invitation to the FLL World Championship. After the announcement was made, Waring Coach Francis Schaeffer gathered the Brickwolves in a team huddle. They put their arms around each other and soaked in the moment. “We got here together,” he said. “The way we wanted to.”
The team of Owen Cooper, Chris Douglas, Peter Hanna, Collin Keegan, Adam Madeja, Charlie Pound, Olive Sauder, and Amelia Wyler will travel to Detroit, Michigan, for the World Championship on April 28–May 2, 2020.