Students tackle LEGO competition
Computer club students at Lincoln Orens Middle School in the Island Park Public Schools participated in the FIRST LEGO League Competition on Jan. 28 at Mineola High School. This year’s theme, titled the Animal Allies Challenge, allowed participants to choose and solve real-world problems in the area of human and animal interaction while building working cars out of LEGOS.
Since October, the students prepared for the event by working after school every Wednesday on their programming and robotics skills. The Challenge expected teams to build, test and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology to solve a number of missions. Missions included having a robot pick up a shark tank out of LEGOS and carrying it to the proper location on the table-top playing field. The competition also stressed teamwork by allowing students to work with another school for two of the rounds, known as Ally Rounds.
Coached by teachers Christine Chu and Robert Ferrante, the team presented a poster and play in which they wrote themselves, at the beginning of the competition. The focus was on endangered animals in the wild and students acted as hunters and naturalists. The team also adopted an African elephant from the World Wildlife Fund as part of the cause and received a certificate of adoption.
This was the first qualifying tournament for the team with some team members new to the robotic world.
“I haven’t really programmed anything so it was hard figuring out which way to go and how to make it work,” said fifth-grader said Delia Fallon. “I found that it works better if you work together.”
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said sixth-grader William Adler. “The shark tank, crosswalk and the pig were difficult. I had to program my robot to hit each mark in one go.”
The students are currently preparing for their next robotics competition at Adelphi University on May 6.