First Lego League’s Cosmobots Compete for State Championship

CAPTION: The Harker Lego League Team. The team won their Frist Lego League competition and are moving onto regionals at Rowan.

WOOLWICH — First Lego League (FLL) is a global program that introduces STEM to children through real world problem solving and robotics. Students learn teamwork skills and build confidence while competing against other teams. The theme for 2022-2023 is SUPERPOWERED. SUPERPOWERED is all about energy.

We designed and built robots using the Lego Education Spike Essential. Our team, the Cosmobots, is made up of five fourth graders: Lyla DiPalma, Charlotte Erikson, Brandon McCabe, Courtney McCann, and Luke Tripoli, and five fifth graders: Laila Esfahani, Macklin Gregory, Aidan Guinter, Alan Monzo, and myself, Mackenzie Booker. Our coaches, Mrs. Cancila and Mr. Wojciechowski (Mr. W.) spent months teaching us how to code robots.

During the first few meetings, we spent our time learning about what robot options there were, selecting a single robot prototype to build, and learning how to code them. For first time Lego Leaguers, it was tricky trying to do coding initially, but eventually we figured it out, and became more confident doing it independently.

In addition to building and coding, during our meetings, we also learned about the core values of FLL: Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, and Fun. We participated in a variety of activities that demonstrated the core values.

An example is when we had to move a dodgeball from one pair of partners to another without using our hands. The dodgeball was between our hips and we had to use teamwork, along with good communication, to successfully transfer the dodgeball from one team to the next.

During our time in FLL, we discovered how to be better listeners, as well as strong leaders, and learned there is value in everyone’s ideas and contributions.

In preparation for our first competition, we had three groups, each working on a single robot. We then chose out of the three the one that was most fluent in its code and proved to be the most functional overall for the robot games on Jan. 7 at North Burlington Middle School.

Part of this qualifying challenge was to do an innovation project. We partnered with Chick-fil-A in Berlin to do an energy audit.

We looked at Mr. and Mrs. Lutz’s monthly electric bills and made cost saving recommendations. During our visit to their Chick-fil-A, we noted that the play area, which had been converted into a storage room, had the lights on the entire time we were there.

We suggested they look into motion sensors which would both save money and conserve electricity. We then presented our findings to a panel of judges at the robot games.

There were 12 teams competing in the day-long competition. The Cosmobots won the Innovation Award and were one of the four teams selected to move on to the New Jersey State Championship for Lego League at Rowan University on Feb. 25.

Being a part of First Lego League has been an incredible experience and I look forward to seeing how far we can go at our upcoming competition.

by Mackenzie Booker, 5th Grader

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