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Santa Barbara’s LEGOnardo Da Vincis to Compete in Lego Tournament

Team members hope to qualify Saturday for next month's state tournament

The LEGOnardo Da Vincis, a group of 10 children from the Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy, will compete this Saturday, Nov. 20 with 35 other teams at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League Tournament in Camarillo.

The Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy brings homeschooled children ages 9 to 14 together for three hours every Thursday to work on a robotics project.

“It’s always most important to us that the kids on our team are having fun,” said Suzan Christenson, a coach of Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy. “Amazing things are learned when kids are having a good time doing something they are passionate about.”

The team is required to participate in several 2½-minute rounds of robot competitions and give a five-minute project research presentation to a group of judges at the qualifying tournament.

LEGOnardo Da Vincis is looking to qualify for the state tournament, which will be held Dec. 18 in Los Angeles. Nine of the teams competing Saturday will advance.

Christenson said the experience is not about winning but “having fun and being proud of doing their personal best.”

LEGOrobotics offers a curriculum that includes many kinds of subjects, including English, math, social studies, scientific data collection and mathematical approaches to creative software programming robotics. LEGOrobotics curriculum focuses on working in teams, solving problems and creating solutions. The students learn from doing things rather than reading books.

Teams will be judged for their teamwork, enthusiasm, “gracious professionalism” and personal performances.

“It helps them develop an even closer bond as a team, gain respect for what other teams are accomplishing,” Christenson said. “The LEGOnardo Da Vincis are all very exited and enthusiastic about their participation in the upcoming tournament. They are a group of happy, gracious, smart kids that are truly enjoying the whole experience and looking forward to it with a great sense of anticipation.”

Saturday’s tournament will be held from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Monte Vista Middle School, 888 N. Lantana St. in Camarillo.

Noozhawk intern Eri Arai is a journalism student at SBCC.

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