They navigated painstakingly programmed LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robots through a maze of missions and obstacles. They gave well-honed science presentations to dedicated volunteer judges. They offered solutions to challenges facing senior citizens using elaborate exhibits. They demonstrated what teamwork and professionalism look like.
After a full day of competition on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Fairmont State University, hundreds of middle school students on 54 teams were named winners in 10 categories during the West Virginia FIRST® LEGO® League Senior Solutions Challenge State Championship hosted by FSU’s College of Science and Technology.
FIRST LEGO® League introduces elementary and middle school students to real-world engineering challenges and helps them learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. Using LEGO® bricks and other elements such as sensors, motors and gears, teams gain hands-on experience in engineering and computer programming principles as they construct and program their unique robots. Students learn how to brainstorm for ideas, manage time, and how to use science to solve real-world problems.
“FIRST Lego League provides an unique opportunity for young people to have fun while learning. It inspires those involved and lets them experience teamwork in accomplishing a technological objective. We want children to experience science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from a hands-on perspective, and hopefully create a new cadre of future engineers and scientists,” said Dr. Anthony F. Gilberti, Dean of the College of Science and Technology at FSU.
Past years’ FIRST® LEGO® League Challenges have been based on topics such as food safety, nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for the handicapped population and transportation. By designing each year’s Challenges around such topics, participants are exposed to potential career paths in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills that will benefit them no matter which career path they choose.
This year’s statewide FIRST® LEGO League winners are:
Champions Award: This award recognizes teams that embody the FLL experience by fully embracing the program’s Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the competition’s Robot Game and Project. First place in this category went to Team 2096, Scieneers, Fairmont, and second place went to Team 2916, BrainStorm Robotics, Morgantown.
The Championship Team, Scieneers, will choose between two upcoming tournaments to further celebrate the FLL experience. They may attend FIRST World Festival in St. Louis, Mo., in April 2013 or the U.S. FLL Invitational in LEGOLand California in May 2013. The second place Championship Team, BrainStorm Robotics, will be invited to attend whichever tournament Scieneers does not attend.
Robot Performance Award: This award recognizes teams that score the most points during the Robot Game. Teams have a chance to compete in at least three 2.5-minute matches and their highest score counts. First place in this category went to Team 11472, Robo Mojo, Morgantown; second place went to Team 2916 BrainStorm Robotics, Morgantown; and third place went to Team 27, Virtual Vikings, Morgantown.
Mechanical Design Award: This award recognizes teams that design and develop a mechanically sound robot that is durable, efficient and highly capable of performing challenge missions. First place went to Team 4270, Gadget Guys, Morgantown.
Strategy & Innovation Award: This award recognizes a team that uses solid engineering practices and a well-developed strategy to design and build an innovative, high performing robot. First place went to Team 9680, NXT Generation, Bridgeport.
Programming Award: This award recognizes a team that utilizes outstanding programming principals, using clear, concise and reusable code that allows their robot to perform challenge missions autonomously and consistently. First place in this category went to Team 27, Virtual Vikings, Morgantown.
Research Award: This award recognizes teams that utilize diverse resources to formulate an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the problem they have identified. First place in this category went to Team 5077, Team TNT, Arthurdale.
Innovative Solution Award: This team recognizes team solutions that are exceptionally well-considered and creative, with good potential to solve the problem researched. First place in this category went to Team 6370, The Silicon Chips, Mineral Wells.
Presentation Award: This award recognizes teams that effectively communicate the problem they have identified and their proposed solution to both the judges and other potential supporters. First place in this category went to Team 5684, F.I.R.E., Martinsburg.
Gracious Professionalism™ Award: This award recognizes teams whose members show each other and other teams respect at all times. They recognize that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible, on and off the playing field. First place in this category went to Team 11100, Robot Chicks, Charleston.
Inspiration Award: This award celebrates a team that is empowered by the FLL experience and displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit. First place in this category went to Team 9898, Nordic Cupcakes, Sistersville.
Teamwork Award: This award recognizes a team that is able to accomplish more together than they could as individuals through shared goals, strong communication, effective problem solving and excellent time management. First place in this category went to Irish Robots, Huntington.
Judges Award: This award recognizes teams whose unique efforts, performance or dynamics merit recognition for their unique stories and achievements. The award went to Team 1549, Rampaging Robots, Morgantown.
Volunteer of the Year Award: The award went to Philip Vance of Chapmanville, a volunteer who travels across the state to help set up FLL championships and scrimmages every year and demonstrates gracious professionalism in all that he does. He embodies FIRST® values through his selfless support of young people and celebrates 13 years of volunteer service with FIRST® this year.
The tournament was funded by a grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium with additional funding from the NASA IV&V Facility’s Robotic Alliance Project. Over 100 volunteers from the Fairmont State University College of Science and Technology, NASA IV&V Facility and the state’s four high school FIRST® Robotics teams made the event possible. Special recognition goes to Head Judge Christina Moats (NASA IV&V); Head Referee, Dr. Earl Scime (West Virginia University); and Tournament Director, Todd Ensign (NASA IV&V/FSU).
For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®) is an international organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989. FIRST® programs inspire young people ages 6-18 to be science and technology leaders through mentor-based programs supported by leading corporations that build science, engineering and technology skills inspire innovation and foster self-confidence, communication and leadership. Young people in FIRST® programs master science and technology concepts through robotics, while gaining valuable career and life skills that carry them to higher education and to science, technology, engineering and math professions. West Virginia’s FIRST LEGO® League teams join more than 200,000 other young people in over 55 countries who are exploring the topic of senior solutions during this year’s competition.