5/24/19—Hockaday’s middle school robotics team, Saturn V Girls, were in Houston last month to compete at the World Festival, a celebration of champions who competed and won in the 2019 FIRST LEGO League season.
Among a field of 469 teams, they took the first place Champions Award at the North Texas FIRST LEGO League Regional Championship Robotics Tournament in February. “Our team is all girls, and it’s important to have girls in STEM. And we’ve been inspired by astronauts in space,” said team member Jana D.
Team member Anika K. explained, “Every year there’s a theme that has to do with a real-world problem, and this [year] it’s Into Orbit and helping astronauts on either a physical or mental problem they face in the real world on long distance spacecraft. People are wanting to get to Mars, so this is how we can help, and it’s kids’ ideas.”
Starting in August, Saturn V Girls researched and studied contemporary problems in space and designed innovative solutions using the STEM skills they learned in the Hockaday classroom. The girls identified an issue that could be solved with an unconventional approach: scratch-n-sniff stickers.
“In space, there’s no gravity so the body fluids of an astronaut rise up and it feels like you have a head cold all the time. Since taste is 80% smell, the astronauts can’t taste,” Anika K. explained. “So this would allow them to taste what food actually tastes like.”
“These skills they’re learning through the core values, the gracious professionalism, the treating others with respect, collaboration as team will pay off as they move forward in college and careers,” said Terera Lenlig, VP of School and Community Engagement at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, which hosts the competition.