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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 1:17 pm | Fair 66º


Two Local FIRST LEGO League Teams Advance to Championship

“Masters of Disasters” and “FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3,” two local FIRST LEGO League teams, were among 23 that competed in a qualifying tournament in Santa Maria last weekend, and both did well enough to advance to the Los Angeles Championship to be held Dec 14-15 at Torrance.

Additional local teams will be competing this weekend at other FLL qualifying tournaments.

Both teams also got high scores on their robot scores, with Masters of Disasters placing third place and FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 coming in first. In addition, Masters of Disasters got second place in Project Presentation, and FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 got the Champions Award.

Masters of Disasters is based from students at Montessori Center School while FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 is based from students at Foothill Elementary and La Colina Junior High.

Every August, FLL releases a Challenge based on a real-world scientific topic. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project and the FLL Core Values.

The children 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. Teams may then choose to attend a qualifying tournament to see if they can compete at the regional level.

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.

Masters Disaster
Members of the Masters of Disasters team prepare to start their robot. (Cydney Miller photo)

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. More than 200,000 children from more than 70 countries competed this year.

The teams learned to work together constructively to solve technical problems and learned how to perform under pressure, switching out parts and selecting new programs with the clock ticking and their teammates counting on them. They also learned how to quickly fix parts a minute before game time and develop engineering solutions in real time.

For this season, the budding engineers and innovators were asked to solve issues related to the theme: “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 a five-minute skit to present to the judges.

Masters of Disasters came up with an infrared detection and sprinkler system that helps protects properties in the event of wildfires, while FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 came up with an exoskeleton suit that enhances the First Responders’ strength and capability to rescue survivors faster.

“We’re really happy that both local teams made it to the next level,” FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 coach Rip Chou said. “Both teams worked really hard all season, and their efforts paid off. We will be competing in two different days, but we’ll be rooting for each other in spirit.”

— Ri-Pen “Rip” Chou is coach of FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3.

Masters Disaster
Students from Montessori Center School make up the Masters of Disasters team. (Cydney Miller photo)

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