‘Face-O’ puts a smile on judges’ faces at state robotics

CELSIUS smiles: back row, from left: Leia Paul, Margaret Totten and Daisy Dolan; front row, from left, Ella VanCott, Claire Oswald, Morgan Totten, Emma Ouzounian and Lucy Fine.

CELSIUS smiles: back row, from left: Leia Paul, Margaret Totten and Daisy Dolan; front row, from left, Ella VanCott, Claire Oswald, Morgan Totten, Emma Ouzounian and Lucy Fine.

The First Lego League state championship competition took place Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19-20, in Hillsboro.

Hood River Middle School had four teams advance to the state championship, and the Gorge region was represented by six teams advancing from the local qualifying tournaments.

Team Celsius, an all-girls team from Hood River, took second-place honors out of 65 teams on Saturday.

Contestants presented projects on the theme of “Senior Solutions.”

Team Celsius created a memory game, “Face-O,” similar to bingo, with the added twist of face recognition.

The two top teams from the weekend go on to “Worlds,” at a location to be announced, according to co-coach Joe Dolan, an HRMS science teacher.

Celsius is the only team from outside the Portland Metro area, as well as the only all-girl team, to earn a champion award. Teams reaching this level have been practicing for months on building, design, research and programming.

“Judges were impressed with the (Face-O) game, a webpage to support it and the overall creativity and teamwork of this great group of kids,” Dolan said.

He coached the team along with John Fine, Barry Paul and Dave Ouzounian.

The students did research for their “senior solutions” project, the part of the robotics competition that has to be presented to judges, by working with residents of Mill Creek Pointe facility, an assisted-living center in The Dalles.

Dolan explained that the team interviewed the residents and asked them about challenges to their abilities and their frustrations with the aging process. The team came up with this “FACE-O” game, which is like Bingo, to help with memory.

The studentes researched the literature on “cognitive decline” or normal aging, and also Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“They tested the game with the residents, tweaked it and went back to play again,” Dolan said. “It was a hoot! The residents loved it and all had fun. And it is aligned with the research about teaching memory skills; but it includes a social component which is really important to older folks.”

The team also had to build a robot which does tasks on a table for points (three times) and they have to do a team cooperation type of task as well called “Core Values.”

Dolan said, “The total score depends on all those things. It’s pretty intense.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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