Bais Yaakov middle school was excited to join in the middle school girls’ robotics tournament run by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE). In order to create a robotics league that catered to the unique demands of Jewish day schools, CIJE decided to network their participating schools and created a new Vex Robotics League. Established over ten years ago, CIJE has implemented a STEM curriculum which is utilized by 200 Jewish day schools across the country.
Bet Yaakov of the Jersey Shore hosted the tournament and 60 girls from schools in Maryland, New Jersey, and New York participated. Each year students are given a different robotics challenge. Students stay after school to join in the robotics clubs, starting in the Fall. Students learn about mechanical engineering and computer programming as they build their robots. In teams, students researched, programmed, and designed their own robots. This year’s challenge requires robots to release discs from dispensers and shoot them into scoring zones. Students score extra points by having their robots expand to touch contact points. Rabbi Heshy Wieder, CIJE STEM Mentor, loves how the program makes students “feel good about themselves. You see them jumping and celebrating and the smiles on their faces. It’s really heartwarming.”
Mrs. Rochelle Goldberg, Mrs. Miriam Schechter, and Ms. Meira Levi led the 8th grade robotics club at Bais Yaakov of Baltimore. The girls enjoy learning about robotics and teamwork and were excited to come to the tournament. All of the teams did an amazing job making the finals. In the end, Bais Yaakov teams ASA (Aidde Moss, Ayelet Elman, and Shoshana Salhanick) and Da’ Exploras (Shoshana Gross, Ruthie Weil, Zehava Pepper, and Chavalah Reischer) won first place with 120 points, the highest league score so far this season! In addition to the main competition, Bais Yaakov team Infinity and Beyond (Avigayil Taub, Shana Horwitz, and Peninah Ayala Taragin) won first place in the difficult autonomous challenge! The robotics club will be returning to participate in the final CIJE tournament this spring.