LEWISBURG — Lewisburg Lego Family — Tri-County North’s FIRST LEGO League team — recently banded together with the community to hypothetically solve issues in downtown Lewisburg.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international competition organized by FIRST for elementary and middle school students.
According to FIRST LEGO League, each year in August, they introduce a scientific and real-world challenge for teams to focus and research on. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Innovation Project, and the Core Values.
Teams of up to 10 children, with at least two adult coaches, 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 FIRST Core Values. Teams work out a solution to a problem related to the theme and then meet for regional, national and international tournaments to compete, share their knowledge, compare ideas, and display their robots.
This year the teams were faced with the City Shaper Challenge. For their solution, Lewisburg Lego Family developed a non profit to address abandoned buildings in the city limits. They looked at a specific building owned by the Village of Lewisburg, surveyed the community to meet needs, and came up with a plan to turn the building into STEAM maker space. Their non-profit organization was called Local Loyal Fixers, with the intention of improving abandoned buildings based on what the community needs.
Not only did this satisfy challenge needs, but it also gave team members the opportunity to interact with community leaders, such as village council.
Lewisburg Lego Family’s season ended following State Competition in February. Out of 500 teams, the Tri-County North Team placed in the top 60 by competing at State. At State, they tied for eighth place, which puts them at ninth place for the robot games. Their Core Values rubric received a nearly perfect score and they also did well with project score. Their robot design score was their lowest score this season.
The team did win the Cooperation Award, which is for a team who is able to help and encourage other teams. Coach Stacy Williams also received an award at competition, hers for being the best coach and mentor at a league tournament.
Lewisburg Lego Family is coached by Williams and Rhonda Horn. Team members include Reese Horn, Zoey Beare, Brianna Wagoner, Parker Williams, and Sawyer Flora.
For coach Stacy Williams, she enjoyed getting to see this current group bond together and really become a “family,” as their team name suggests.
“A big thing is how this group gets along. They just mesh really well and they have the passion to be here,” she said. “Their passion and desire really shines through — their love for programming the robot or solving the real-world problems. Their grit and perseverance too.”
From working with robots to working in the community, there are several different reasons Lewisburg Lego Family team found passion in FIRST LEGO League.
“My Favorite thing about FLL is how there is a little bit for everyone – there is solving problems, competition, and robot design, building, and programming,” Parker Williams said.
Zoey Beare added, “We get to learn so many different new things, but we get to have fun while we’re doing it. I had fun with the project this year, I got to learn a lot more.”
Some team members enjoyed working with robots and programming the most. In fact, they will be moving forward to work more with robotics in the future.
Sawyer Flora said, “I really enjoy the programming. I enjoy building the robots, parts, pieces, watching it all come together in the end, and being able to show it and present it at competition.”
“I really like the programming and technology aspect of it, the STEM aspect. I like working with technology and watching the missions become more consistent over time as we fine-tune,” Reese Horn added.
Brianna Wagoner had a different reason for enjoying the competition.
She said, “FLL was a great program to teach you leadership skills and how to talk to judges and people in general. By solving real-world problems, you can see what problems exist in the world we live in.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH