Iowa Lakes Community College hosted 17 teams at the Estherville campus Saturday as part of the FIRST® LEGO® League Regional Qualifying Competition. Three teams have been invited to advance to the Championship event at Iowa State University in January.
FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) is an international program, created by FIRST® and LEGO®, designed to get children interested in and excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subject areas.
Regional qualifying teams which have been invited to the Championship event include: the Techno Indians of Spirit Lake who were the Overall Champions along with the Honorable Mention teams of the West Bend Probots and Lake Mills Robotics.
Other awards included the Robot Performance award in which the West Bend Probots were the winners and the Lake Mills Robotics received honorable mention; the Robot Design winners were the Winnebago Warriors and the Estherville Elks Autobots received honorable mention; the Project Award winner was the HTTP – Hospers Tech Team Programmers and the Spencer Inventors – Sigma received honorable mention; and the Core Values winners were The A Team from Sibley while the Team Antivirus of Spirit lake took honorable mention.
Teams came from 12 communities including Buffalo Center, Estherville, Forest City, Hospers, Humboldt, Harris-Lake Park, Lake Mills (2), Mason City (2), Sibley, Spencer (2), Spirit Lake (3) and West Bend.
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) releases a new challenge each year that engages teams in hands-on robotics design and scientific research. This year, the ‘challenge’ was to use research and robotics to explore solutions for dealing with natural disasters.
Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL Core Values. Teams of up to 10 children, with one adult coach, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FLL Core Values.
Participants (ages 9-14) are exposed to potential career paths within a chosen Challenge topic, in addition to solidifying the STEM principles that naturally come from participating in a robotics program. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills which will benefit them no matter which career path they choose.
Teams can be developed from any group: school, scouts, religious organizations, home school groups or even groups of friends. After the challenge has been released, teams have about three months to design, program and build their robot, and prepare an in-depth research presentation related to the challenge theme. The LEGO® Mindstorms robotics kit is used to build a robot capable of completing tasks autonomously on the playing field. Team members can use any LEGO® parts to build the robot – including parts they already own.
This weekend’s Northwest Iowa Regional Qualifying Tournament was sponsored by John Deere, Rockwell Collins, Iowa State University College of Engineering and Iowa Lakes Community College.
For more information on Iowa Lakes Community College, and the Northwest Iowa STEM Hub, visit www.iowalakes.edu.
The Techno Indians of Spirit Lake pose for a photo. They were the Overall Champions.