5th Annual Wyoming First Lego League Championships
Sublette County teams bring home trophies
by Robin Schamber, UW Sublette County Extension 4-H & Youth Development Educator
December 14, 2010
Thanks to grant assistance provided by Sublette BOCES #1 (Pinedale Teams) and Shell (Big Piney and Pinedale teams), Sublette County sent three robotics teams to the 5th Annual Wyoming First Lego League (FLL) Championships in Casper December 3 and 4. The Wyoming FLL Championship event is hosted at the Casper Events Center each year and has experienced marked growth since its inception in 2006 where 21 teams participated. The 2010 Body Forward challenge season hosted 60 teams at the Events Center.
The 2010 Championships began with an inspirational presentation by former NASA astronaut and experienced space walker, Story Musgrave, who told the story of his life an individual who went to the Korean War before finishing high school and later became a very accomplished academic holding several degrees and fulfilling a long career with NASA. Day two of the event was time for the teams to showcase their season. All teams were judged on their research project presentation, which surrounded the theme of Biomedical engineering, on teamwork, and on their robot design. The final portion of the contest involves three rounds of teams working to solve specific missions with their programmable robot within a 2 minute, 30 second window.
The Big Piney team, Dr. Robotos, brought home the 1st place overall trophy in the team work portion of the contest. This team consisted of members; William Shafer, Sarah Shafer, Blade Bray, Max McGinnis, Dwaine and Russell Kenney, Matthew Kelly, and Matthew Shafer as a teen mentor. The team was coached by Donna Shafer of Big Piney. Dr. Robotos have been working together since early September solving missions and researching their topic of reducing cholesterol related heart disease. This team was made up of both novice and veteran FLL members.
Pinedale sent two teams to the contest, one veteran team and one rookie. The Pinedale Middle School team (Pinedale 2) comprised of Conor Sullivan, Thomas and Carson Mack, Tyler Moritsch, Taylor Ruckman and Martin Erickson was coached by Carla Sullivan and Ron Ruckman. This team researched hearing loss and was awarded the 2nd place trophy for innovative solutions to their research topic with their proposed nano-robot that would artificially activate damaged nerve pathways. This team also brought home the 3rd place trophy for robot performance with their high scoring robot round that scored 205 points. This high scoring robot was built and programmed by veteran team member Tyler Moritsch.
A rookie team of members from Pinedale Elementary school also competed in this yearís Wyoming FLL. The Duct Tape Bandits comprised of Joe Anspach, Katelyn Hayward, Sawyer Bernard, Justin Stinson, Kurtis Dover, Preston Williams, Thomas Harnack, Nicholas Erickson, Garett Schamber and Molly Sullivan was coached by Hal Erickson and Robin Schamber. This team had an amazing rookie year, scoring a high round of 85 points in the robot performance, which is quite remarkable for new team. They researched skin cancer as their topic and prepared educational supplements to share with their school and came up with two innovative solutions to combat skin cancer. One was utilizing UV detection bead bracelets for kids to have a visual demonstration of when they have had too much UV and the other was creation of a prototype nano-robot that would be able to detect cancerous versus non cancerous cells.
FLL is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds, which is designed to get children excited about science and technology -- and teach them valuable employment and life skills. FLL can be used in a classroom setting but is not solely designed for this purpose. Teams, comprised of up to ten children with at least one adult coach, can also be associated with a pre-existing club or organization, homeschooled, or just be a group of friends who wish to do something awesome. In 1998, FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the LEGO Groupís Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen joined forces to create FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a powerful program that engages children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology through the FIRST experience. Dean and Kjeld have a shared belief that FLL inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology. "We want to change the culture by celebrating the mind." - Dean Kamen
The cornerstone of the FLL program is the FLL Core Values. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork. The FLL core values are; We are a team., We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors, We honor the spirit of friendly competition, What we discover is more important than what we win, We share our experiences with others, We display Gracious Professionalism in everything we do and We have fun.