The 3rd Annual Kenai qualifier for the national First Lego League (FLL) robotic competition was held last weekend at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA) After the event had to be rescheduled due to ice roads the teams turned out in mass. Event organizer and CEO of the CLCA Marnie Olcott explained how the real life competition works, “In early fall, First Lego League releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic. Each Challenge has three parts, the Robot Game, the Project and the FLL Core Values. Teams of up to ten children with one adult coach, 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, all guided by the FLL Core Values. Teams may then choose to attend an official tournament hosted by one of the Operational Partners.
According to Olcott, past challenges have been based on topics such as nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for the handicapped population, and transportation. By designing Challenges around such topics, participants are exposed to potential career paths within a chosen Challenge topic, in addition to solidifying the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) principles that naturally come from participating in a robotics program. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills which will benefit them no matter which career path they choose. “This is a very tough competition and the teams work together for months preparing their robots, but sometime just like in real life the robots just don’t perform as planned. That disappointment as well as the thrill of success however, is great for learning life skills and perseverance,” said Olcott. Here are official Kenai FLL Qualifier tournament results with a total of 12 teams competing: Performance (actual competition rounds) – Brainstorms. Project Award: - Legoettes. Core Values Award – LegoEActive. Design Award – Auto Moto. Championship Award – Your Mamas Lamas. Judges Award – Lego Oreos. Coach Award – Moose Bots. Teams winning an award all qualify to participate at the state level in Anchorage. Learn more at http://www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge/thechallenge#sthash.D3Sv8BzQ.dpuf