Competition Encourages Team Work

Medal that participants received at FLL.

By Jocelyn H.

FLL Competition, FIRST® LEGO ® League (FLL®), created a partnership between FIRST (For inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and The LEGO Group. The purpose of this program is to inspire future scientists and engineers.

For the year of 2012-13, there are 205,000 children worldwide participating and 20,500 teams with more than 60 countries participating. For the U.S. & Canada, there are 125,000 children and 12,500 teams this year. There are 564 Qualifying Tournaments, at least 85 Championship Tournaments, and 1 World Festival.

In the FLL teams, participants must be ages 9-14 in the U.S. This huge event is run by a non-profit organization. All the team coaches, competition judges, referees, facility setup are volunteers, and they made tremendous help working together to make FLL competitions happen.

There are four parts to the competition, which are robot performance, robot design, project, and the core values. The robot design is the part where the judges look at the mechanical design, strategy and innovation, programming, and research. The project is to invent something new. The judges look at research, innovative solutions, and the presentations.

This year’s topic is Senior Solutions, so the teams had to come up with something helpful for seniors to use. The Lego Roadrunner’s team came up with an idea called Supercane that has accelerometer. When the accelerometer senses that the cane is at too much of an angle (the senior is falling), the 3 suction cups at the bottom will activate and suck on the ground. To release the suction cup, just press the trigger again.

Core Values is discovery, integration, cooperation, teamwork, having fun, and gracious professionalism (sportsmanship). The judges are looking for inspiration, teamwork, and gracious professionalism.

The last category is the Robot Performance. The score depends on how many points each mission is worth and how many missions the team completes. This category is judged by the referees.

RMS students attened the competition on 12/1 at Manhattan Beach Middle School. That was one of the Qualifying Tournaments. There were lots of familiar faces out there volunteering, and one of them was Widget Club Teacher Joe Petito, who always advocates the importance of STEM. Some of the former Richardson students attended as well. One of them was Ninth Grader Anna W. who received the Best Mentor Award.

Anna was interviewed about her experience as a mentor. When asked what she does as a mentor, she had a lot to say.

“I help the Lego Roadrunners edit the skit and act as a mentor for the Lego Roadrunners. I help them combine missions for the robot. Even though it takes a lot of time, I learned things like leadership and some interesting things while writing the script. I would like to volunteer again, because it is really fun to work with kids,” said Anna W.

Another Ninth Grader, Eric C. attended too.  He also attends the Rattlesnake Robotics Team Too.

“This is my second time attending FLL competition. My biggest challenge is being consistent. If I had a chance to attend this program, I would make the robot faster. Attending this program made me skilled at teamwork. Sadly, my age wouldn’t fit the age group next year, so this is the last time to attend this event here,” said Eric C.

The venue for the FLL competition was Manhattan Beach Middle School.

The following are the results for the Manhattan Beach Middle School Qualifying Tournament…

Teams 6845 (Cyber Monkeys from Sherman Oaks), 7205 (Rattlesnakes Robotics #1 from Redondo Beach), and 9014 (Rattlesnakes Robotics Team Too from Torrance) received awards for the Robot Design. Teams 116 (WHS Robotics from Cerritos), 4850 (RoboRally from Long Beach), and 340 (Brownian Rovers from Manhattan Beach) received the Project Award. Teams 922 (Bayside Academy from Long Beach), 58 (Superbotics from Redondo Beach), and 8256 (Beach Cities Robotics Jr -Alpha from Redondo Beach) got the Core Values Award.

For the Robot Performance, the 3rd place team was 2603 (Marlbots from Los Angeles), the 2nd place team was 5827 (Gondos from Venice), and the 1st place team was 9014 (Rattlesnakes Robotics Team Too from Torrance).  Go Rattlesnakes! Their highest score was 440 points!

The Championships Award–Best Team Overall in Robot Design, Project, and Core Values, plus in top 40% of teams for Robot Performance.

The following teams were teams which the judges picked because they stood out. For example, one team could have shown unique effort. The Judges’ Awards were presented to 2787 (tELSA-bots from Los Angeles), 8869 (Widgets from Torrance), and 8873 (Widgets 3 from Torrance).

FLL is a competition, but remember, the purpose is to work together as a team. Even though teams are competitors, they can still help each other out. Students learned that the results don’t matter; it’s the effort and support that provides a great learning experience.

Congratulations to all of our FLL participants.  Also, thank you to all those who helped make this such a successful event.  If you would like to get involved with this club next year, contact Mr. Joe Petito for information.

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