WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/782418

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Page 177 of 229

The Robot Raiders—renamed from Bates Bots now that the girls have transitioned from Bates to middle school—have been inspired by the themes of the Challenge. In 2014—their first year—the theme was to "create an innovative solution that improves a learning experience." They decided to focus on strategies to improve how children learn to ride a bike. They were fourth graders then, and brainstormed about what was hardest for them when they learned. Some of their conclusions: You can't learn to balance when you're using training wheels. And your ankles get scraped by the pedals when you fall. They rounded up a focus group—their six-year-old siblings—and had them do test riding to confirm their hypotheses and generate ideas for a smoother road to two wheels. Their concept for a solution? A training gym that would include walls in close proximity for when you fall. A series of courses that would provide decreasing support as your skill level increased. Padded pedals to decrease ankle trauma. And a talking helmet that would give you both riding tips and words of encouragement. Not bad. Why didn't the adults think of all of that? In 2015, the theme, "Trash Trek," led not only to self-directed education about the subject, but a real world change in their elementary school. The challenge: identify difficulties in the way we handle trash and find an innovative solution. The girls focused on cafeteria waste and opportunities to reduce it. They came up with the Zero Waste school cafeteria project, and persuaded the fifth grade student council to join forces with them. The student council group created an educational video for the school and proposed 174 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 The team celebrates at the end of the day. In 2016, their third year competing, the girls advanced to the state championship education "a lot of fun along the way" C O U R T E S Y O F R O B E R T P L E N G E

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