So they’ve made it to state. Now the real work begins.
On Dec. 8, a team of five Goshen elementary and middle school students will make their way to the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne campus to compete in the 2012 FIRST LEGO League Indiana State Championship.
With more than 20,000 teams in more than 70 countries, FIRST LEGO League is essentially a robotics program for young students designed to get children excited about science and technology while at the same time teaching them valuable employment and life skills. 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 in some cases be just a group of friends with an interest in robotics.
Such is the case with EFF5, or Engineering for Fun, the Goshen team made up of Goshen Middle School students Daniel Sailor and Jayson Margush, Chandler Elementary students Griffin Hetler and Evan Sailor, and Model Elementary student Ben Wengerd. Leading the team is Theresa Sailor, an instructor at Chamberlain Elementary School.
“We’re not affiliated with any schools. We actually do all of this out of our garage,” said Sailor of the team. “It was something our oldest son was really interested in doing, and we had learned that you didn’t have to be affiliated with a particular school to participate, so we went ahead and started a team. It’s totally extracurricular. We do it all on the weekends and in the evenings.”
Through the LEGO League program, students are tasked with building and programming an autonomous robot using LEGO pieces to score points on a thematic playing surface, creating an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project, all while being guided by the FLL Core Values. In addition to their robotic creations, teams are also required to do fundraising, create a team identity and market their creations.
“Each year teams have to invent something that is consistent with the theme for the year,” Sailor said. “They are required to research their idea and develop a five minute presentation on it to present to the judges. This year the theme is Senior Solutions, so the teams had to come up with an idea that would help improve the lives of senior citizens. For our project, we came up with a cabinet that lowers for easy reaching, and they ended up receiving the Research Award for their work.”
According to Sailor, over 250 teams from Indiana have participated in the LEGO League challenge this year. To qualify for the state championship, EFF5 recently competed against more than 30 of the best teams in the region at the FLL ETHOS Qualifying Tournament in Elkhart on Nov. 10. Only seven of the top teams from the tournament qualified to move on to compete at state.
“It was really tough,” Sailor said of the competition. “There were some teams that got some really great scores. There were some teams with some neat ideas, and on the robotics side, they are really, really developing. When we started a few years ago, there were a couple teams that really shined, but now we’re really seeing some impressive things out there.”
And looking forward, Sailor said the competition is only going to get harder from here.
“At the state tournament, these are the top 50 teams of all the regional competitions,” Sailor said. “So from where we were at regionals, it is going to be a tough climb for us. But it’s certainly doable. The kids are just going to have to work a little harder for it.”
Out of the 50 teams competing at state, only one will qualify to go on to the national competition, typically held in Saint Louis, Mo.
For more information on the upcoming FIRST LEGO League Indiana State Championship, visit www.etcs.ipfw.edu/fll/qualifyingtourneys/locations/index.php.
So they’ve made it to state. Now the real work begins.
- Local News
- All Chandler students to get free lunches
Scout finds pot in park
An Eagle Scout project leads to find in Abshire Park.
- State's attempt to ward off dangers working July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.Each year sin
- ELKHART COUNTY 4-H FAIR: Both cars and drivers are characters in the popular demolition derby Sugg hed: Inside the mind of demolition derby drivers By ROBBY HOWARD firstname.lastname@example.org GOSHEN — At the annual Nationwide Demolition Derby, old battered cars take on a new life before their likely demise. None of the cars featured on the fi
SLIDESHOW: Demolition Derby
- Goshen mail carrier Gary Miller to deliver his last letter GOSHEN — Its been one amazing journey, but now it’s time to pass the torch on to the next generation.That’s the word from Gary Miller, a Goshen native who has spent the past 44 years serving as a postal carrier for the city. After more than four deca
- Cool weather, improvements lead to a banner year for Elkhart County 4-H Fair GOSHEN — The 2014 Elkhart County 4-H Fair might go down in history as one with solid attendance, record-breaking support in the livestock auction and mostly cool temperatures. But above all, it was a pivotal year for the annual event, fair president
- FAIR FACES: There's no place like the fair for getting the word out GOSHEN — As one of the largest county fairs in the nation, one would be hard-pressed to find a location or event within Elkhart County that boasts the sheer amount of foot traffic that can be found at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. But what does all th
- 4-H FAIR: Steer sale nets $15K-plus for Seed to Feed program GOSHEN — The shock on Lane Flowers’ face was obvious.
- Clinton Frame eyes new conference after gay marriage split GOSHEN — There appears to be a schism forming within the heart of the Mennonite faith, and at epicenter of that schism is what some in the denomination perceive to be an increasing support for or affirmation of the controversial issue of same-sex marriage among certain Mennonite congregations.
- More Local News Headlines