Source: NorthFulton.com

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Students battle robots in tournament

by Caitlyn Walters

December 17, 2013

Team Comets of Silver City Elementary School reroute their robot’s path. CAITLYN WALTERS/Staff.
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Inspired students showed their passion for science, technology and fun during the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League's seventh annual regional qualifier.

Thirty-two teams from Forsyth and Fulton schools and organizations battled their robots in the competition held at Forsyth Central High School, 520 Tribble Gap Road, on Dec. 7.

"This is an exciting and engaging vehicle to interest the youngsters in pursuing career paths in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields," said David Johnson, the STEM Academy engineering teacher at Forsyth Central High School. "They learn to overcome personality conflicts and get the job done within time and budget constraints. It is truly amazing to witness."

FIRST LEGO League is a robotics program for 9- to 14-year-olds, which is designed to get children excited about science and technology, and teaches them valuable employment and life skills.

The children program an autonomous robot, using the LEGO Mindstorms robot set, to score points on a thematic playing surface, creating an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project.

"This robotics tournament is done like any other sports tournament," said parent David Taylor. "The teams are grouped together and compete against each other, but it's against the clock."

The league set up eight tables, and the teams programmed their robots to complete specific missions within a 15-minute period.

Johnson said this international competition has a different theme each year. This year, the title is "Nature's Fury," and it is about natural disaster mitigation, rescue and recovery.

Johnson said while the game is fictional, the "missions" are based on real scenarios.

The teams earn points for completing the missions, but are also docked if the robot runs over an obstacle or into a wall.

"It's like an old Matchbox course," Taylor said. "This is my son, Gaston's, second year, and he just loves the whole experience."

Teams, composed of up to 10 children with at least one adult coach, can be associated with a pre-existing club or organization, homeschooled or just be a group of friends who wish to do something awesome.

For more information, visit www.firstlegoleague.org.

Winners

Tournament champions (highest combined scores in all categories)

1. Team Bright Ideas Haw Creek Elementary/Lakeside Middle

2. Team Super Awesome Forsyth County (part of Brookwood Elementary)

3. Earthquakes Goodrich Robotic Academy

Project research

1. BrainStorm Lakeside Middle

Innovation solution

1. Jag-A-Nators Johns Creek Elementary

Best presentation

1. Feral Felines Girl Scouts

Robot design/mechanical design

1. RoboDragons Matt Elementary

Programming skill

1. Elite Unicorns Otwell Middle

Game strategy

1. Robogeeks 1.0 Chattahoochee Elementary

Core values and gracious professionalism

1. ATBT Johns Creek Elementary

Teamwork

1. Coal Mountain Coal Mountain Elementary

Inspiration

1. Starminators Settles Bridge Elementary

Robot performance (top game score)

1. Team Bright Ideas Haw Creek Elementary/Lakeside Middle

2. Team Super Awesome Forsyth County

3. Elite Unicorns Otwell Middle

Teams without placement:

1. B.A.T.M.E.N. Brookwood Elementary

2. Lights Out Brookwood Elementary

3. Robostangs Little Mill Middle

4. The Bear Bots Mashburn Elementary

5. The Grizzlies Piney Grove Middle

6. The Tornotics Sawnee Elementary

7. RoboKnights-Hurricane Heroes Sharon Elementary

8. Comets Silver City Elementary

9. Manna Robotics Foothills Fellowship Church

10. Alter Leagoes Chestatee Elementary

11. Waffle Inc. Chestatee Elementary

12. Robonados Lakeside Middle