With Super Bowl excitement twelve middle school teams ages 9-14 from around the Kenai Peninsula gathered at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA) in Kenai for the First Lego League Kenai Qualifier Robotics Tournament November 17th. According to Marnie Olcott, executive director for the CLCA and tournament official the teams competed in three categories; project research, team work and robot design, “This year’s project design was called ‘senior solutions,’ the teams were tasked with finding a senior partner in their community and identifying a problem faced by local seniors and create an innovative solution improving the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities. All teams were judged on that and their team work which is core values and then their robot design before they even went to the competition rounds,” she explained.
The robots were not remote controlled but were programmed to perform certain tasks on the competition boards, “They are set a start point and the kids hit a button and hopefully the robot performs as programmed,” said Olcott. Dr. Steven Atwater, Superintendent of Kenai Peninsula Board School District, gave the opening address and encouraged the students to continue developing problem solving skills that are so important for success in life.”
At the end of the day it was the “The Road Wise Ravens” from IDEAS Homeschool that took the Robot Performance Award and were named the Kenai Qualifier Champions. They will head to Anchorage January 19th to compete in the statewide Robot Rendezvous Championship. “Your Mama’s Llamas” from Homer Middle School received the Robot Design Award. “Neon Ninjas” from McNeil Canyon Elementary received the Core Values Award. The “Homer Connectors” from Homer Connections received the Project Research Award. The “Robo Rangers” 4H club from Nikiski received the Judges Award. Kristin McGlothen from Skyview High School was chosen for the Coaches Award and Samantha Eisenman received the Volunteer Award.
Chantelle Rose the director of educational operations at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska said it was an exciting tournament and one the staff looks forward to in preparing the competition boards. “Legos and this competition is truly a learning experience and as coach Jill of the Road Wise Ravens said what’s really nice about Legos is that they are not only learning science, but they are building their own latest and greatest toys. Best of luck to the Road Wise Ravens in Anchorage next month, we’ll all be rooting for you,” said Rose.