Shorecrest Middle School Robotics Team 1449, The R2D2s, completed an Innovative Project in the 2021-2022 school year
that focused on the transportation of bees from one farm to another. In their research, the R2D2s found that approximately 30% of hives are lost during the transportation process. A large part of this loss is due to overheating. The team developed an app, Bee Cool, that trucking companies can use when transporting bees. If hive temperatures reach a dangerous level and the driver needs a water source to cool it down, the app locates nearby water sources so they can spray down the hives. The Bee Cool app uses open source mapping software, ArcGIS, to create a map overlay for their app. Drivers can identify water sources within 5 miles of the interstate and navigate to a water source.
At the suggestion of team coaches Dr. Anna Baralt and Christine Scoby, The R2D2s entered the project into the Dyslexic Advantage STEM / STEAM Ingenuity Awards. These awards are to encourage dyslexic students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Mathematics. The R2D2s won the Grand Prize!
The Ingenuity Awards registration form asked important questions such as, “What Problem Did You Solve? What ideas did you come up with? If applicable, include an entrepreneurial application of your project. Could what you learned be applied in a business or have some positive commercial implications?”
Team member Arden Katcha ‘26 led a discussion with Dr. Baralt and her fellow team members before submitting the robotics project. “We already had a prototype and presentation,” Arden explained. “Early on, the team came up with a bunch of ideas and interviewed experts about them. We got the best feedback on the Bee Cool app. After that everything moved smoothly.”
Arden says the team worked well together and balanced everyone’s strengths to create such a great project.
“I’ve learned how to find the greatest strengths in other people. We have people on the team great at coding, or great at research, or making the project [board]. We've learned to incorporate that so we have one great project instead of splitting up as individuals. Everyone played an amazing role in the project. Everyone did an amazing job!”
The judges from Dyslexic Advantage said they were impressed by the ingenuity and depth of the project as well as the team’s perseverance at contacting outside experts.
Winning the $500 grand prize wasn’t the best part of robotics for Arden, though. “I have had a ton of fun. I wish I started Robotics a year earlier, in fifth grade instead of sixth grade. I’ve just stuck with it because it is a great thing to do and I have a lot of friends from robotics.”