Verona resident Olivia Camuti is part of a team of 4th through 7th graders at the Montclair Cooperative School that has advanced to the state finals of the First Lego League (FLL) tournament. The team will compete in the state championship event in Flanders on Saturday, December 14. Olivia’s dad, Tim Camuti, is a mentor of the nine-member team, which is called the Co-Bots.
“I am ridiculously proud of our kids. Their performance perfectly highlighted what we try to teach: creative problem solving, taking risks and working as a team,” said Dawne Weaver, a teacher at the Montclair Cooperative School and one of the team’s coaches. “Our kids put a lot of effort into this competition and we are all very excited for their success. We are looking forward to watching them compete again this weekend”
The Co-Bots advanced to the state competition after competing against 40 teams from northern New Jersey at the Clifton Qualifying Tournament on November 23. In the process of competing, they also received the Judges’ Award for especially meritorious performance at the qualifier. At the state championship, they will compete against 60 more teams from around the state.
“Olivia has learned so much being on the Co-Bot team about collaboration, innovation, and communicating ideas,” added Heidi Camuti, mom to Olivia and wife of Tim Camuti. “For me, it has been so sweet to watch Olivia and Tim share the whole experience together as a father-daughter team. They can’t wait to do it again next year.”
The FLL competition scoring is based on three elements: the Robot Game, Project, and FLL Core Values. In the Robot Game, the teams program autonomous robots to score points in 2.5-minute matches on a themed playing field. In the Project element, teams explore an actual problem that today’s scientists and engineers are trying to solve, develop an innovative solution to that problem, and present their findings. Finally, teams are also evaluated on their adherence to FLL Core Values of friendly competition.
First Lego League is an international program for 9 to 16 year-old children created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Currently in its twelfth year, FIRST LEGO League anticipates that more than 170,000 children in more than 50 countries will be competing in hundreds of qualifying and championship tournaments.
The Montclair Cooperative School is a private progressive day school, nursery through eighth Grade with a focus on strong academics, experiential learning, a meaningful social curriculum and individualized teaching. The Co-op highly values parent involvement and prides itself on a strong, diverse community of Co-op families. Montclair Cooperative School celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has many community events planned to honor its rich history of providing progressive education to the greater Montclair area.