Otters and eels and starfish… oh my!

On Wednesday, September 25 the Lower Elementary class visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Parent volunteers helped transport the students over to Monterey to the aquarium. We are so thankful to have so many involved and helpful parents with us every year. They spent the entire school day admiring, watching and learning. They learned many new things about sea life habitats and the creatures that live within them. From the sounds heard in the hall when they arrived back at school, everyone seemed to have a fun time with their friends and learned a lot along the way.

Sports teams such as basketball of football are commonly brought to mind when considering humans working together in perfect synergy to accomplish a team-task.  However, sweat and athletics aside, the Montessori Robotics Team from the Montessori Learning Center has experienced such cooperation and collaboration while trying to solve a mission of epic proportions. Considering this team's infancy, only third-year participants, the students accomplished quite a feat at the Monterey Regional Contest, placing 2nd out of over 50 teams in the “Design and Innovation” category.

Every year the MATE Center (Marine and Advanced Technology Center) opens it's doors to hundreds of elementary, middle,  high school and college students worldwide to compete in an underwater robotics competition. Employing lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math, a unique mission designed to support relevant marine science needs, is proposed for students to solve. Student teams are required to design, build, test, rebuild, and retest a robot to complete specific tasks.

The Montessori students, ranging from 2nd to 7th grade, guided by teacher and parent volunteers, worked together to solve this year's mission. Without solid communication skills honed by years of Montessori-style learning, these students, very accustomed to hands-on work and group dynamics, easily assimilated to the rigorous course of focus and effort required. Their trophy was awarded for their design of a foam and carbon-fiber composite robot frame. As the designer of Montessori education, Maria Montessori would have been proud to see such a creative and excited effort out of these young people.

Congratulations to the 2013 Montessori Robotics team for their accomplishment!

The Montessori Robotics Team: Jared Aldape, Kaira Aldape, Pierce Balestrieri, Kyle Batacan, Stuart Carruthers, Jayson DaSilva, Brandon Onitsuka, Lance Ray, Sterling Ray, Lauren Resquir, Audrey Tran, and Claire Tran.

(The competition was on April 20th, 2013. This article is featured in “Off 68” on May 3rd, 2013. )