Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Ninety-One School combines recycling with robotics


A pair of Ninety-One School teams took recycling to the robotics age. Using Lego robotics as the launching pad, the two groups — a fifth- and sixth-grade team and a seventh- and eighth-grade squad — enjoyed plenty of success in December competitions.

At the state qualifying competitions, teams were judged on robot design and programming, on their core values and teamwork, and on a research project and presentation.JOHN BAKER - Two Ninety-One School teams, No Mo Bags and The Trash Benders (below) combined recycling projects with robotics.

The Trash Benders are Ninety-One School’s fifth/sixth-grade team coached by Karen Groat and Brittney Bland.

They finished in the top five at their Dec. 12th competition.

The Trash Benders started the Colorcycle program at Ninety-One and introduced the recycling program to Colton Elementary.

This recycle program, run through Crayola, works with organizations to collect and recycle markers, highlighters and expo markers. The Trash Benders made collection boxes for teachers to have in their rooms. At the end of the school year they will send the markers to Crayola and the markers will be recycled.

The team is made up of five fifth-graders, Easton Anderson, Coleson Groat, Kenna Keifer, Ellis Kropf, Marissa VanHoose, and two sixth-graders, Kody GIger-Bland and Ethan Porter.

The school’s seventh/eighth-grade team, No Mo Bags, competed in McMinnville at Evergreen Aviation Museum on Dec. 5 and captured the best project award for the tournament. Unfortunately, they did not qualify for the state competition.

Its project featured collecting and recycling of plastic bags from the grocery store. Through research they discovered that the main reason people didn't reuse plastic bags was inconvenience — they would forget to bring them when they went shopping.

So the team created a bag container by recycling empty Clorox wipes bottles, filling them with plastic grocery bags and storing them in cars so they would always be on hand when shopping. The team also wanted to recycle the bags themselves and discovered they could cut the bags into strips creating "plarn" (plastic yarn) and use them to knit or crochet purses and tote bags.

No Mo Bags is coached by Angela Nissly and Stacey Hestand. Team members are Josh Bussey, Maile Campos, Sinjin Groat, Robert Hestand, Meridian Lattig, Cousteau Lattig, Levi Nissly, Lucas Nissly, Ben Wing and Thomas Wing.

In addition to the research project, both teams built and programmed a Lego Mindstorm robot to run “missions” on a game board.

Teams get 2 ½ minutes to perform as many missions as they can. Teams get points for success, deductions for pieces left on the table or penalties (for example, touching the robot outside the safe zone).