On November 20, 2011, a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team, the Black Eyed Peppers, from the Saint Thomas More Community Robotics Club, competed at the Mukwonago Regional. FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, hosts robotics competitions to get young people interested in the study of science and technology. Students aged 9 – 14 build and program autonomous robots using Lego Mindstorms components to compete in a game challenge. Teams are judged in several areas including robot performance, technical knowledge, a research project, teamwork, and gracious professionalism. This year’s challenge was called Food Factor and teams needed to research food contamination – from exposure to insects and creatures, to unsterile processing and transportation, to unsanitary preparation and storage – and propose solutions for preventing or combating these contaminates. The Black Eyed Peppers explored the problem of salmonella getting on black pepper that would cause illness.
The Black Eyed Peppers, FIRST Team #3638, won the Inspiration Award. This award celebrates a team that is empowered by their FLL experience and displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit. The team was made up of nine students from eight different schools and were mentored by club parents and students from FRC Team #1714. They were sponsored by Rockwell Automation and American Acrylics USA LLC and MORE Robotics Team #1714.
The team also mentored six first-year Lego Girl Scout teams in the beginning of the 2011 Lego season. They taught basic building and basic programming using NXTG. The team held demonstrations at several community events to promote STEM education and FIRST Robotics. They set up their challenge table, demonstrated robots for the spectators, and took turns explaining what FLL is to the visitors.
Additional information about MORE Robotics can be found by visiting their website at www.morerobotics.org.
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