MEXICO – Mexico Academy and Central School District hosted the FIRST LEGO League Challenge regional qualifying event for the second consecutive year, and it was once again a huge success.
“The FIRST LEGO League Challenge fosters an environment where students are expected to learn the art of team work and collaboration, as well as research, project presentation and communication skills, all skills that are vital in college and career,” said Mexico School Business Administrator Alicia Koster. “We feel it is critically important to ‘advertise’ the necessity for learning these life skills and to also provide an opportunity for students to showcase their talents amongst their peers.”
FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”
According to fll.org, “In FIRST LEGO League, children are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams design their own solution to a current scientific question or problem and build autonomous LEGO® robots that perform a series of missions based on an annual theme.”
This year’s theme was “Trash Trek Challenge;” students in grades 4-8, in groups of up to 10 students, explored the world of trash, compost, recyclables, landfills, sanitation and more, as well as occupations that relate to these topics: city planners, sanitation workers, environmental engineers, etc.
Students were challenged to think about the technology that people use to turn trash into something new.
The competition is divided into three parts: the Robot Game, the Project and the FLL Core Values.
The Robot Game requires students to program autonomous robots to score points on the trash-themed playing field; the project involves brainstorming a solution to an identified problem.
SUNY Polytechnic Institute facilitates three qualifiers for upstate New York FLL teams in November: one in Mexico, one in Utica and one in Ilion.
24 teams from these events will continue on to the Championship competition held on SUNY Polytechnic Institute Utica campus on January 16, 2016.
The following teams from this qualifying event will advance to January’s championship: Tully’s “Eco-Bots,” Liverpool’s “NXTG3N,” Tully’s “CyberTechno Knights,” Fayetteville’s “FFL’s The Inside Joke” and Central Square’s “The Awesomes.” The alternate team is Mexico’s “Point-to-Point Motion.”
Central Square’s “The Awesomes” team took home the Judges’ Award.
The judges said “The Awesomes” showed incredible improvement from last year’s competition, taking all that they learned to make adjustments this year.
In recognition for research and presentation of an innovative solution to an identified problem, Tully’s “Eco-Bots” received the Project Award; they also received the Robot Performance Award.
Tully’s “CyberTechno Knights” earned the Robot Design award.
The Core Values Award goes to the team that demonstrates the most enthusiasm and spirit. This award went to Liverpool’s “NXTG3N.”
For fully embracing the Core Values of FLL, embodying the full FLL experience and achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and the Project, the Champion’s Award was received by Fayetteville’s “FLL’s the Inside Joke.”
After distributing the awards, SUNY Polytechnic’s K-12 outreach director, Elizabeth Rossi, said, “The most important thing is what we learn, not what we win.”
“Mexico Academy and Central Schools was honored to host this event,” said Mexico Superintendent Sean Bruno. “We are especially appreciative to all of the volunteers that gave their time to help us make the event a success – one that provided a safe, rewarding and fun experience for all of the kids participating.”