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Sandy Journal

Brookwood, Other District Teams Ready For Regional Competition

Jan 26, 2016 03:49PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Sandy - Brookwood Elementary’s first-ever LEGOrobotics team was gearing up for its regional competition in January. Joining them at regionals will be teams from Butler and Draper elementaries, as well as Mount Jordan, Albion, Butler and Midvale middle schools.

At the regional qualifier competition Jan. 16 held at Albion Middle School, 20 teams were expected to compete to determine the champion. The top teams were to be announced to compete for the state title on Jan. 30 at Utah Valley University.

Brookwood’s 11-member team, nicknamed “System Overload,” consists of Wes Christiansen, Parker Fillmore, Matani Hinckley, Carson Lofgren, Noah Martinez, Rishi Naik, Brady Peterson, Giano Roumpos, Tino Roumpos, Matthew Wise and Zane Wong. They are coached by parents, Eli Fillmore, Rajiv Naik, Bryan Wise and Roy Wong.

The First LEGO League competition allows students from age nine to age 14 to compete and receive judges’ comments and scores in core values, a project and robot design and performance. Students have the opportunity to solve real-world challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. Through the competition, more than 290,000 students from more than 80 countries apply real-world math and science concepts, research challenges, learn critical thinking, team building and presentation skills and have fun competing in tournaments.

Brookwood, which practiced once per week since September and recently increased its preparation for the competition, unveiled their robot and competition presentation to third through fifth graders at their school Jan. 11. 

Their presentation, or skit, was about reducing plastics and offered suggestions such as mealworms and mushrooms. Their skit matched the 2015 First LEGO League theme, “Trash Trek,” which challenged teams to not just talk about what is thrown away, but to also research and examine it, and offer ways to reduce it or reuse it.

Then, they demonstrated several missions they programmed using their robot they built for the competition. They also showed the attachments for each mission to other students.

“The students learned to write the programs, learned how to turn on and off the motors and learned that the coaches don’t know everything,” Coach Wise said. “It’s our first time, too. So they not only figured things out, but did it themselves, which is what they have to do in the competition.”

Team member Rishi said that it was his first time building a robot.

“I learned how to build robot parts,” Rishi said. “I hadn’t done that before. I learned that plastic reduction is needed around the world to eliminate pollution and that these guys before were my friends, but now we’re best friends. We had to come up with answers together even though we thought differently.”

Words about cooperation and teamwork were amongst what they planned to share with judges at the core value presentation at the regional competition, he said.

Principal Corrie Barrett appreciates what these students have learned through the program this year.

“Participation in First LEGO League is about so much more than robotics,” she said. “Students learn to work in a collaborative team and use critical thinking skills to solve real world problems. Communication and presentation skills are strengthened in the process.”