Lego Robotics team ties for second in tournament

On Saturday, January 20th, the Lego Robotics team, The Coding Cadets, traveled to Palm Harbor Middle School to compete in a Lego robotics tournament.

The Lego Robotics team is made up of six students: 7th graders Calli McKee and Jillian Aprile, 5th graders Saige Jeffers, Isabella Reynolds, and Zachary Vaughn, and 4th grader Katie Lynch. Out of 30 teams, our students tied for 2nd place in the Robotics section, scoring a whopping 150 points! 

During the competition, students were judged in several areas:

Robotics – Students were given a specific course with several Lego related missions to complete, a project which took three rounds plus a practice round. 5th grader Zachary Vaughn was recognized as not only the first but the only student to complete the water pipe placement mission.

“My job was to take the pipe back to the base and then back again,” Zach said. “I had a robotic arm on there to get the pipe out. I figured out that the pipe wasn’t going far enough to go into the hole, but Mrs. LoRusso helped me by showing me how to add a couple of pieces so it wouldn’t slide back as far.”

Technical – Students showed off their best programs and explained the technical/coding part behind it.

“I don’t get to be in the room for that part,” said Shannon LoRusso, Lower School STEM Teacher and coach of the Lego Robotics team. “They’re judged entirely on their own. They had a few notes from the judges that they are working on, but overall they did a great job.”

Project – Students had to come up with a project to complete that related to the First Lego League (FLL)’s theme, Hydro Dynamics. Our students completed their research and came up with the idea of creating a water-saving music app to use while in the shower.

“The average person uses about 2.1 gallons of water per minute,” said Calli McKee, who partnered with fellow 7th grader Jillian Aprile to spearhead this aspect of the project. “This app would measure how much water the user is using based on how long the songs they select are. For example if it’s a 2 minute song, that would be 4.2 gallons of water. It would even have an option to adjust the showerhead for different amounts of water that is put out.”

Core Values – Students were given a team-building task when they walked into the room and were expected to work together as a team to complete the task while using the FLL’s set of Core Values.

The core values were as follows:

  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we win.
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
  • We have FUN!

“They were judged on how well they worked together as a team,” said Mrs. LoRusso. “The final product isn’t as important as the teamwork.”

The students will travel to the Trinkle Center at Hillsborough Community College in Plant City on Saturday, February 17th to compete in the regional tournament.