Local teams headed to FIRST LEGO state championships



Two FIRST LEGO League robotics teams from Crabapple Lane Elementary went up against some tough competitors at their super-regional competition Jan. 14 at Columbus State University, with both securing spots in the upcoming state championship at Georgia Tech.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) issues a challenge each year that has three parts: the robot game, project and core values. Teams participate in the challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (robot game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (project), all guided by the FLL Core Values.

This year’s theme, “Animal Allies,” is tied to the project component of the competition. Each team had to identify a problem that occurs when people and animals interact, and conduct research to find a solution for it.

The Cardinal Crushers were one of two tournament champions at the super-regional competition. The two teams with a combination of the highest scores earn the tournament champion award.

These teams best exemplify all of the FLL Core Values, as well as have outstanding research projects and excellent robot technical designs. For their research project, the Cardinal Crushers created a tunnel to put over a nest of sea turtle eggs. The turtle tunnel blocks out artificial light and allows the newly hatched sea turtles to follow the light of the moon, hopefully resulting in more babies making it to the ocean. Team members are Madison Lohr, Ian Gevertz, Emmett Fisher, Wynn McDonell, Will McDonell, Roshan Kolachina, Mark Redahan, Trevor Hall, and Marcus Morrow. Melissa Lohr and Errin Kelley coach the team.

The Red Bird Robots were one of two teams that won the research project award. This award goes to the two teams best exemplifying the FLL research project categories of primary research, innovative solution and presentation. The Red Bird Robots created a fidget vest for therapy dogs to wear when working with children with autism. The vest has different tactile fidget items attached to it for children to use while in therapy. The team members are Zachery Niederfringer, Carson Moses, Tyler Hooton, Preston Lane, Sydney Nolen, Shae Staples, David Smith, and Kaden Korn. Nicole Moses and Rebecca Niederfringer coach the team.

Both teams will compete in the state championship Jan. 28 at Georgia Tech. Last year Crabapple Lane had a team that placed third at the state competition.

Teacher sponsors of the teams are Michelle Redahan and Mindi Hooton.