MICDS hosted 44 teams from around the region at the FIRST Lego League (FLL) tournament this past weekend.
The FIRST LEGO League robotics competition is an international contest that uses robotics as a catalyst for developing students’ skills in creative thinking and working together. Participating teams are judged on their ability to construct a robot to accomplish assigned missions, develop and present a solution to a problem they see in their community, and display their team’s commitment to the FIRST Core Values of Discovery, Innovation, Inclusion, Impact, Teamwork and Fun. The theme of the competition changes every year. This year, it was City Shapers, with a focus on improving human communities through creative engineering.
Each year, MICDS students form teams to participate in our region’s qualifying competitions. This year, the teams were created at each grade level, with 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams competing at the qualifiers on campus in December. Each team spent three months this fall building a robot and developing code to direct it to complete tasks. On the competition days, teams brought their robots and all the attachments they had constructed to compete head-to-head with other teams, attempting to accomplish missions at the competition table to earn points. This year, those missions included clearing a traffic jam by lifting a slab of LEGOs from the table, releasing a wheelchair-accessible swing to swing freely and operating a crane by manipulating levers with their attachments.
Additionally, each team prepared to stand before judges for three presentations: one on their project, one on their robot design and one displaying the FIRST Core Values. The project presentations involved a five-minute presentation on a solution they had designed to a perceived problem in their community, followed by five minutes of questions from the judges.
Our eighth grade team, coached by Upper School Coordinator of Instructional Technology Christian Borja, took home the “Core Values” award. This award is given to the team that demonstrates exceptional teamwork during the competition. Teams are presented with a unique challenge that they are not aware of ahead of time and are then evaluated on how they solve this problem together. Our seventh grade team, coached by Upper School Registrar and Science Teacher Brian Rueckert, took home the award for “Project.” This award recognizes the team that excels across the research, innovative solution and presentation categories. This team utilized diverse resources for their project to help them gain a comprehensive understanding of the problem they identified, developed a creative, well-researched solution and effectively communicated their findings to the judges during the competition.
Congratulations to all of our young robot enthusiasts!