Three Garrett County Public School FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) teams competed at the Maryland State FLL Championship last Saturday, among the top 72 teams from across the State of Maryland. The event was held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Campus (UMBC) in their sports arena. Garrett County teams included NeXT GEN - composed of students from Southern Middle School; Freez’n Point - composed of students from Northern Middle; and iLEGO - a rookie team composed of students from Route 40, Yough Glades, Broad Ford, and Southern Middle Schools. NeXT GEN took third place in a Project Research judging category, Freez’n Point posted the fourth highest score for robot performance, and the rookie team, iLEGO won the 1st place Champion’s Award - the Championship’s top award.
According to FIRST, the Champion’s Award is FLL’s most prestigious award that “celebrates the ultimate success of the FIRST mission and FLL Values. It measures how the children inspire and motivate others about the excitement and wonders of science and technology, while demonstrating gracious professionalism. The Champion’s Award is determined by giving equal weight to all four arenas of competition - technical design and programming, robot performance, project presentation and teamwork - and additional consideration to the team demonstrated FLL Values to all the Judges.” As a result of receiving the first place Champion’s Award, iLEGO has been extended an invitation to compete at the North American Open Championship in Carlsbad, California, May 16-18. The coaches and parents of iLEGO are working on a “Community Partner Campaign” to gain the support needed for the team to represent Maryland at the North American Championship. More information about the campaign will be announced later this week.
A Junior FIRST LEGO League (JrFLL) team composed of third grade students from Grantsville Elementary School, known as the Shake, Rattle, and Bark, also attended the competition. They participated in the event’s JrFLL Exposition along with twenty-four other JrFLL teams from around Maryland. As a result of their participation, the team received a trophy for earning the “Innovative Construction” Award. JrFLL is FIRST’s newest program for 6-8 year old students.
GCPSS FLL teams are operated mostly as a school sponsored extracurricular activity. FLL teams are limited by FIRST to ten students per team, ages 9-14. FLL teams build and program a LEGO-based robot to compete on a 4’x8’ playing field featuring “missions” based on each year’s challenge theme. Along with developing a solution to the robot game, teams must also complete a research-based project which solves a problem related to the challenge theme. This year’s theme was named “Nature’s Fury” and focused on preparing for, surviving, and rebuilding from natural disasters. Next year’s FLL Challenge Theme is “World Class: Learning Unleashed” where “teams will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn.”
During the 2013-2014 Nature’s Fury season, Garrett County Public Schools sponsored ten FLL teams. Garrett County teams compete regionally at a qualification event held at Northern Garrett High School on the second Saturday in December. The FLL season begins the last week in August. The three teams that competed at the state FLL championship last Saturday- NeXT GEN, Freez’n Point and iLEGO earned the first, second, and third place Champion’s Award, respectively, at the Northern Garrett Qualifier last December. For more information about FLL go to http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll. For more information about the FLL program in Garrett County, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All seventy-two FLL teams converged on the floor of UMBC's arena awaiting the start of the awards ceremony.
The three teams representing the Garrett Qualifier at Maryland FLL Championship last Saturday. NeXT GEN is wearing the red shirts, Freez'n Point in blue and the Maryland Champions, iLEGO, in green.
FIRST LEGO League Team iLEGO after the awards ceremony last Saturday.
FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology
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