Friday, January 27, 2012


Another First Lego League (FLL, grades 4-9) season has come and gone. In this project our teams met every Thursday after school for 8 weeks at HSC where we worked in collaboration with Beltrami County 4H’s Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) program. We started with 4 tournament slots and then donated one bid to a neighboring county and arrived at regionals in Northome with 3 teams rip roaring ready to go and busting at the seams. It was a big big task, but we were able to turn 20-25 squirrelly kids into focused winning teams! Our young engineers designed, built, and programmed their robots with sensor-stimulated artificial intelligence to independently maneuver about, completing a variety of tasks on a competition board with food safety as our unifying theme this year. They also presented accompanying project reports, skits, and demonstrations which identified food safety issues and then they proposed technological solutions to these problems.

This competition is an amazing example of how kids can grow in ways we expect, but also in ways and manners beyond how we might imagine they would. In addition to honing abilities in mechanical and computer engineering, they learn teamwork and time management skills as they prepare their robots and develop them to championship status.

Our squads brought home hardware from the Northern Minnesota Regional Robotics Tournament once again. This year they won two bronze and a silver medal with one team garnering a special recognition and proclamation for design excellence by using pneumatics to accomplish robotic tasks. This is a high profile program that brings HSC much recognition in the community. Though we did not make our bid to the FLL State Robotics Tournament this year (as we have in years past), our top team missing by just one ranking, most of the kids

As for this year, we are not finished showing our "right stuff." Look for us at the "ROBO SHACK" this summer at the Beltrami County Fair where we will feature these and other technological achievements of our young engineers. They have formed a permanent club and are continuing to meet the first Thursday of every month at HSC.

THANK YOU – Paul Bunyan Communications is and has been our steady major sponsor, supporting us in equipment acquisition (these robots are not cheap) and by paying our tournament entry fees along with other associated costs. This project would also not be possible without the volunteer efforts of parents and coaches––thanks a bunch!

If you would like to help us out next season or have a child in this age range who shows a real interest in technology, especially robotics, contact James Owens at 444-4472.

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