The Emerson Challengers fared well at the FLL Regional Qualifier held last month at Ohio State.
The Emerson Elementary School Challengers FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team reached for the stars at The Ohio State University SWE Regional Qualifier on Saturday, December 15, and walked away with a Robot Performance Award and the Coach/Mentor award for teacher Jeffrey Miltko.
Comprised of 10 Emerson fourth and fifth graders, the Challengers are in their second year as an FLL team. They spent the fall researching the muscle and bone mass loss that astronauts suffer during long-term space travel, and designed an elastic resistance suit that would allow muscles to be exercised during everyday activity, as they are on Earth. During this process, they had the opportunity to communicate via Skype with Peter Waydo, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer who was involved with the design of the current Mars rovers.
The team earned the Robot Performance Award for scoring the most points in any of the robot matches. The Challengers’ resistance suit project was also well-received by the judges, and Miltko earned the Coach/Mentor award, which is given to the FLL coach or mentor “whose leadership and guidance is clearly evident and best exemplifies the FIRST LEGO League Core Values.”
FLL is an international robotics program that challenges teams of students aged 9 - 14 to design, build, and program a robot using LEGO Mindstorms parts and software, as well as complete a research project and presentation. Each season of FLL has a theme on which the robot game table and project are based. This year’s theme was Into Orbit. Regional qualifiers are the first round of FLL competition.
The Challengers showcased their achievements by competing against teams from throughout Central Ohio. During the event, the team presented their project, shared their robot design and program code, and proved their ability to work as a team and exhibit the FIRST philosophies of “Coopertition” and Gracious Professionalism. They also participated in three robot game matches, during which their robot autonomously performed the missions they had programmed. Through the FIRST LEGO League experience, the Emerson Challengers learned valuable lessons about teamwork, leadership, curiosity, innovation, and perseverance.