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Cross Creek Charter Academy Robotics Team Wins Award for Teamwork

Having to build a city that is accessible and sustainable taught six young students the importance of problem-solving, self-confidence, teamwork, communication, and leadership.

The Cougarbots, one of two Cross Creek Charter Academy Robotics teams, participated in the BOOMTOWN BUILD Challenge through FIRST LEGO League Jr., a non-competitive, hands-on STEM program for children ages 6 to 10. The program was created through a partnership between FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the LEGO® Group.

Every year, FIRST Robotics releases a new Lego League challenge. This year, teams explored the growing needs and challenges of the people in their community and created a building that solves a problem and makes life easier, happier, or more connected for the people that use it. This project provides students the opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM experiences.

For their build, the Cougarbots built a hospital, programmed a helicopter that used lights and audio notification when it was getting ready to take off, a rooftop garden, public transportation, and more. The project doesn’t stop when it’s built, though. The team also had to present their build, which included explaining what they made and the different stages of their process. The Cougarbots were then interviewed by three judges, one of which was Steve Maas, mayor of Grandville, Mich.

A highlight of the exposition was the team being the recipient of the Cooperative Model Award, meaning judges felt as though every team member worked on it together and put something into the model and could explain it. They truly exemplified a team.

Rebecca Joyner, manager of accounting at National Heritage Academies, is the coach for the Cougarbots. The team is made complete by Beau Joyner, second grade, Easton Belland, second grade, Finnegan Joyner, kindergarten, Holt Large, second grade, Kyle Langdon, second grade, and Noah Elgraby, third grade.

"I am most proud of how receptive they were to the idea of accessibility,” said Joyner. “They were so open to what accessibility means, whether that’s accommodating for someone that is short, tall, young, old, blind, deaf, and more. They had to think about how they would navigate the building.”

Way to go, Cougarbots!