A team of Westfield fifth graders competed in the “First Lego League” (FLL) tournament earlier this month. FLL is an international competition for 4th through 8th graders that introduces students to real-word engineering and scientific challenges.
The Westfield team, Robodragon, consisted of (from bottom left): James Encinas, Colin Murphy, Philip Kim, Sebastian Tretter, Max Tennant, and parent coach Kristen Kim. This is the team’s second year competing in the FLL tournament. The team begins working on their challenge in September, meeting several times a week to work on the robotic and scientific challenge posed that year.
The boys first competed on Saturday, December 1 in Bridgewater, NJ against 22 teams. Based on their scores in four different areas, Robodragon was chosen to compete in the state championship. The team also won the award for “Best Presentation.” This award is given to the team that most effectively communicates the scientific problem they have identified and their proposed solution to the judges.
The state championship took place on Saturday, December 8 at Mount Olive High School in Flanders, NJ. Out of the 48 teams competing, Robodragon won 2nd place for “Innovative Solution.” This award was given to the teams who have an exceptionally well-considered and innovative solution to the scientific challenge posed, with a solution that the judges believe have a strong potential to solve the problem in real-life. 20,500 teams from 60 countries compete this year and 202 teams are from New Jersey.
Each FLL challenge has 3 parts: the Robot Game, where teams design, build, test, and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology; the Project, where teams apply real-world math and science concepts to research a specific challenge facing today’s scientists; and the FLL Core Values, where teams are judged on their critical thinking, team-building, and presentation skills. The 2012 challenge was improving the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities.
For more information about the FLL and other robotic competitions, go to www.first.org.