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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 2:17 pm | Fair 62º


Local FIRST Lego League Team Gets 2nd Robotics Tournament Invitation

Team FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 shows off their new board games at the Bennett’s Educational Materials​ store.
Team FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 shows off their new board games at the Bennett’s Educational Materials​ store. (Rip Chou photo)

Earlier this month, seven local robotics students learned that their team had qualified to compete in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) North American Championship Robotics Tournament at Legoland in Carlsbad in May. On Friday, they received additional amazing news when it was announced that they’ve been selected to compete in a second international FLL tournament.

FIRST announced that their team, FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3, was one of 20 from around the world that were chosen to compete as a semi-finalist in the FLL Global Innovation Award competition. The competition will be held during the FIRST World Festival competition in St. Louis in April.

FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 consists of one ninth-grader at Dos Pueblos High School, four eighth-graders at La Colina Junior High School and two sixth-graders at Foothill School. The team members are Lance Brown, Scott Brown, Cami Chou, Chloe Chou, Mia Chou, Aaron Juan and Albert Miao.

They are the only Santa Barbara County team in this year’s GIA semi-finals and are one of three from California.

The team is coached by Mack Fixler and Ri-Pen “Rip” Chou.

The FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award (GIA) presented by XPRIZE is designed to encourage and assist FLL teams to further develop their innovative solutions to real-world problems. Any registered FLL team may enter their invention to win the opportunity to take their idea to the next level.

This year’s FLL Theme is World Class, and the kids had to come up with an innovative solution to improve the way that someone can learn. The team decided to figure out an easier way for kids to learn some chemistry, and ended up creating two brand-new games, “ChemBattle” and “Raiders of the Lost Elements.” The kids even made an initial production run of their products and even sold them at a local Bennett’s Educational Materials​ store.

“We were already really happy to have been invited to the FLL North American Championship tournament in May, and to get this additional news about being invited to a separate international tournament is just stunning,” Rip Chou said.

“There were 26,762 teams (more than 267,000 students) competing in FLL this past season from about 80 countries. About 527 FLL teams applied for the GIA competition, and to be chosen as one of the 20 semi-finalist teams is like winning the lottery.”

Chou reflected on the exciting road ahead.

“We’ll certainly be really busy between now and the end of May, but the kids are really excited to be able to attend both tournaments,” he said. “Just making it to either tournament is quite an honor. What a way to end the season.”

Click here to view FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3’s application to the GIA competition.

Click here for the list of the 20 teams selected as GIA semi-finalists.

(ripchou video)

ChemBattle game cards created by Team FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3.
ChemBattle game cards created by Team FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3.

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