AMS invites Ohio schools to compete in FIRST LEGO League Competition

« Austintown Neighbors


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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The audience and the 15 teams at the FIRST LEGO League competition at Austintown Middle School listened for rules on scoring at the competition.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Austintown Middle School hosted a FIRST LEGO League competition on Dec. 9. Pictured are three of the school's teams, the Aquanauts, the Aquabots and F.A.R.T.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Teams spent two and half minutes to solve a series of tasks using their robots. Pictured, Zach and Isaiah of the Aquanauts set up their robot.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Judges at the FIRST LEGO League competition scored teams based on core values, their project and their robot design. Pictured, students worked on their robot design where they had to accomplish a series of tasks on the board shown.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Andy Yates, the tournament partner and a mentor with Austintown robotics, gave the teams and audience an introduction to the competition and how the teams would be scored.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Austintown Middle School had a FIRST LEGO League competition on Dec. 9 in which students competed to move forward to the district competition in Akron.

Fifteen middle school teams from around the area, including Cleveland and Akron, came to the competition. Each team has 2-10 members. The FIRST LEGO League includes students from grades five to eight. At Austintown, the teams practice for two hours after school twice a week.

Austintown Middle School had three teams compete in the competition. Two teams, the Aquabots and the Aquanauts, named themselves after the theme of this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition: hydro dynamics. The third team named themselves F.A.R.T., Falcons of Austintown Robotics Team. The school has another team, Aqua Magik, which did not compete at the tournament.

Andy Yates, tournament partner and a mentor with Austintown robotics, said the competition and teams are designed to get younger students interested in STEM. FIRST LEGO League has found that “over 87 percent are more interested in doing well in school, and 88 percent have more interest in attending college,” according to research listed on their website.

The top five teams moved to the next round. The teams were judged in three areas, their core values, their project and their robot design.

The children first had an interview process throughout the morning to talk about their project and core values. The core values come from FIRST LEGO League. They describe a team’s cooperation together, professionalism, competitive spirit and ability to work together to compete and learn. The teams also met with judges to talk about their projects. Since the theme was hydro dynamics, the students had to research a problem relating to hydro dynamics and offer a solution to it.

For example, Alethea Giles, a coach for the Aquabots, described how the team went to a sanitation building to learn about the process there. The idea that the students came up with was a device that filtered E. Coli from water while using the water to power the electricity at the building.

Finally, the students competed using a robot that they built, designed and programmed using materials from LEGO. The robots had to complete a series of tasks on a tabletop in two and a half minutes. For example, the robot needed to pick up a pipe from one area and bring it over to another for certain amount of points. Each completed task netted a different amount of points depending on the difficulty.

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