Team FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 competed last weekend in the FLL Los Angeles Regional Championship Tournament at South High School in Torrance and won the Champions Award-Second Place trophy.
That means they were judged to be one of the best two teams in the tournament that day and are waiting to see if they will get an invitation to the FLL North American Championship tournament in May at Legoland in Carlsbad. Nearly 1,000 students (96 teams) from San Luis Obispo County to Orange County competed over the weekend.
Their team’s robot also performed the best against all the other teams that day, achieving the highest score with 451. One of the two other Santa Barbara area teams that also competed in the team, LEGOnardo Da Vincis (Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy), got the second highest score that day, and won second place in Robot Performance with a score of 429. The third local team, Masters of Disasters (Montessori Center School), also did well, receiving the Robot Programming Award-Second Place.
The team FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 consists of two Foothill Elementary School students (Cami and Mia) and five La Colina Junior High students (Aaron, Albert, Chloe, Lance, Scott). The name has 2 squared + 3 in it because they have two sets of twins on the team. They are assisted by their coach Rip Chou and team mentor (and mascot) Mack Fixler.
Last year, the team also won the Champions Award-Second Place.
“It’s really difficult to get the Champions Award in these tournaments because they are so competitive,” Chou said. “And to get it two years in a row is quite a rare honor. It’s really a testament to all the hard work, passion and dedication of all the kids on the team. To win the Champions Award, the team has to well in the Robot Performance and excel in all three parts of the FLL Challenge.”
Every August, FLL releases its Challenge based on a real-world scientific topic. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project and the FLL Core Values. The teams participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a playing field (Robot Game) within a set time (2½ minutes) and developing an innovative solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FLL Core Values.
This year’s theme is “Nature’s Fury: Prepare. Stay Safe. Rebuild.” At the tournaments, they presented months of serious research on natural disasters and their effects of people. They then needed to come up with an innovative solution and a five-minute skit to present to the judges.
FLL is open to students ages 9 to 14 in North America (ages 9 to 16 for the rest of the world). This competition is organized by the FIRST organization that also holds the high school version of the competition, of which the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy is an active participant.
Besides preparing for the tournament, FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 is also active in the community promoting FLL, Robotics and STEM. They have shown their robots and presentations to schools, Science Nights, Museum of Natural History and to government agencies.
— Ri-Pen “Rip” Chou is coach of “FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3.”