The Halton First Lego League Tournament held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School, attracted young robotics enthusiasts, ages 9 to 14, from around the Halton region.
The FIRST Lego League releases a Challenge which is based on a real-world scientific topic. This year’s challenge involved identifying a community that may be affected by a natural disaster, learning about the disaster itself and the problems it may cause. The students were then challenged to find a solution that would help people to BE PREPARED, BE SAFE and REBUILD. The Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project and teamwork.
A win at this event qualified the triumphant team, the Boisterous BEEP’ers from Oakville’s E-Bot Robotics, for the provincial competition.
For those of you familiar with physical sports, you can think of this as Rep Lego. It is a physical sport for the mind, and how much fun it is! Children learn so many things on an FLL team including knowledge, teamwork, problem solving, strategies, patience, conflict resolution, organization, support, innovation, curiosity, self-esteem, value, perception, understanding, commitment, working under pressure, time management, presentation skills, public speaking, camaraderie, research skills and much more.
FIRST Lego League (FLL) introduces younger students (9-14) to real-world engineering challenges. Elementary and middle-school students get to design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology applying real-world math and science concepts and research challenges facing today’s scientists.
The teams build LEGO-based robots and, at the competition, complete tasks on a thematic playing surface reflecting this year’s theme of the Challenge, “Natural Disasters”. The team must complete 20 Challenges in 2 ½ minutes; Challenges such as pushing tsunami waves out of the way, raising houses, and activating a plane for rescue missions. At the competition, each team must also present their research to the judges in a creative manner. All teams have to do a presentation which can take many forms, like a skit, puppet show, etc. The students learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, the students learn to make positive contributions to society.
The E-Bots teams from Oakville are in their sixth year of FLL competition, and have brought home one World Championship trophy. This year they entered three teams in this competition; the Fireflies, the Tornado CATS and the Boisterous BEEP’ers, who took home the Champion’s award. Some teams are rookies, often mentored by more experienced team members. One such team is the New Central Terminators, a group of grade 5 and 6 students who have found a potential buyer for their work. They designed a product, Peltier Tile Fabric, which uses only body heat to generate electricity. One team, the Bionicals, is comprised of a group of friends who decided they would like to accept the FIRST Lego League Challenge and formed a team.
According to volunteer Lynn Rampertab, the Competition Tournament Director, “Our kids are doing stuff we never dreamed was possible”. The competitors say, “The matches and the building of the robots are my favourite parts!” What FLL teams accomplish is nothing short of amazing. It’s fun. It’s exciting. And the skills they learn will last a lifetime.
For more information visit; www.usfirst.org