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Getting a Lego up on the competition in Kingman

League prepares students for high school robotics

Courtesy<br>
Robo Wranglers Rebecca Leggett and Chelsea Heitman of the Kingman Academy of Learning worked on their team’s contraption last week during a FIRST Lego League scrimmage in Kingman.

Courtesy<br> Robo Wranglers Rebecca Leggett and Chelsea Heitman of the Kingman Academy of Learning worked on their team’s contraption last week during a FIRST Lego League scrimmage in Kingman.

The Virtual Volts, the Cyber Coyotes and the Robo Wranglers faced off in a FIRST Lego League scrimmage last week at Martin Swanty Dodge Jeep.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science) and the Lego League prepare younger students to join Kingman's FIRST Robotics Team 60 when they enter high school.

"FIRST seeks to transform culture by inspiring students to become interested in science, technology, engineering and (mathematics)," said Celeste Lucier, FIRST Lego League coach. "Lego League does just that."

Each year, FIRST releases a real-world problem in September. Worldwide, Lego League teams have eight to 10 weeks to learn about the problem, conduct research and design an innovative solution to the problem, Lucier said.

"They must also design and program an autonomous robot to complete a number of missions on the game table," she said.

This year's challenge, Senior Solutions, requires teams to research issues people encounter as they age that make it difficult for them to remain connected, engaged and independent, she said. Teams are encouraged to include someone over the age of 60 to interact with the team and be an integral part of the season, she added.

The Virtual Volts, which includes students from the Arizona Virtual Academy, focused on seniors being able to maintain independence with a device that properly dispenses medication. The Robo Wranglers, comprised of Kingman Academy of Learning students, focused on allowing seniors with arthritis to engage in a beloved activity, gardening.

Students designed a mechanism that raises flower beds to waist level, Lucier said.

The Cyber Coyotes, also made up of KAOL students, focused on keeping seniors connected and engaged by using nano-technology in glasses/hearing aids.

The robot portion of the day consisted of six rounds of competition. Each team had 2½ minutes to complete as many missions as possible. Under a bit of pressure, team members worked tirelessly, redesigning and reprogramming their robots throughout the afternoon, Lucier said.

"They realized there is much work to do before regional competition on (Saturday)," she said.

Helpers

Noah Lucier and Matt Johnson, members of Robotics Team 60, helped at the event by providing programming and building support as well as judging the robot design category.

If interested in starting a Lego League team at your school, contact Lucier at the KAOL Middle School at (928) 692-5265 or (928) 377-8586.

If you are interested in supporting Lego League at the Virtual Academy, specifically with travel costs for the upcoming regional event, contact Jennifer Parker at (928) 681-2816.

If you are interested in supporting Lego League at Kingman Academy of Learning, consider an AZ Tax Credit donation, Lucier said.