Lego teams come home with awards

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Three teams from Orleans program make Lego robots to conquer obstacles

Photos by Tom Rivers – Two of the teams through the 4-H program in Orleans County compete in the robot challenge today at Churchville-Chili Middle School. The KOWZ (Kids Only Work Zone) team in back (with the cow hats and shirts) won a Core Values Award for their enthusiasm and sportsmanship. The team with the tie-dyed shirts (Prehistoric Robots) was one of four teams of the 13 to advance to the championships Dec. 8 at the University of Rochester.

CHURCHVILLE – Three First Lego League teams from Orleans County all left a regional competition in Churchville today with awards. One of the teams advanced to the championships for Finger Lakes area teams on Dec. 8 at the University of Rochester.

The Orleans County 4-H program joined the Lego League last year with one team. The program has proved popular with local 8- to 14-year-olds and expanded to three teams and 26 kids this year.

The teams all designed and built a robot out of Legos. The teams used a computer to program the robot to perform tasks.

Jack Finley from Albion and a member of the Stormtroopers team positions a robot his team programmed and built to complete missions on the course. The Stormtroopers won the Judge’s Award, which is given to a team that performed well in all aspects of the competition but didn’t advance to the championships on Dec. 8.

This year all of the FLL teams are competing in a “Nature’s Fury” theme that explores natural disasters. One of the missions requires the robot to remove a tree branch without taking down power lines.

There are 13 missions on the obstacle course. One of the Orleans County teams, the Stormtroopers, tallied the second most points of the 13 teams in today’s robot challenge.

The competition includes two other elements, including a project and a public presentation where teams had to research a disaster and discuss a part of the world that is vulnerable to a “Nature’s Fury.” Some of the teams designed safety kits, a water sifting device and a sparker that created fire without electricity or matches.

Michael Reese of Medina, right, and the Prehistoric Robots team compete in Churchville today.

The Prehistoric Robots team from Orleans received an award as one of four teams to advance to the championship at the U of R. The Stormtroopers received the lone Judge’s Award for a team that excelled at all the challenges but didn’t advance to the championships.

The KOWZ team (Kids Only Work Zone) received the Core Values Award for their enthusiasm and sportsmanship.

Jac Dorris, a member of the Prehistoric Robots team, also received a “Hero Award” after he found some money and turned it in.

(Editor’s note: My son Reuben is on the Stormtroopers team and a did a good job positioning the robot on the obstacle course.)

The Prehistoric Robots team advanced to the First Lego League championships on Dec. 8 at the University of Rochester.