Teams build Lego robot with solutions to natural disasters

Teams build Lego robot with solutions to natural disasters

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Forty-one teams, 400 kids and thousands of Legos filled Union Station Saturday.The robot goes through tests on the field. It has to do with rescuing scenarios,” explained Trinity Sconce, an eighth grader at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.

Trinity had to be coerced to join the Tigerbytes, the Lego League team from Lincoln College Prep.

“When my teacher first asked me to join, I did not want to do it at all because I’m really bad with Legos. I did anyway. I learned that it’s really my kind of thing. I like doing presentations and projects, and Lego League isn’t all about Legos. I learned a lot about programming the robot and stuff like that,” she said.

This year the challenge is dealing with the theme of Nature’s Fury. Each team has to program their Lego robot to deal with a scenario after a natural disaster. They also have to create a project that would help people or pets after a disaster.

“We went through a lot of ideas that we could use to help with wildfires. We ended up focusing on people’s pets and how, when they’re evacuated from an area, you can’t be evacuated with your pets, it just doesn’t work,” Trinity said. “So we designed a tent that could go near an evacuation center, your pets could stay there and they could be close to you.”

Mellisa Manakul, a teacher at Lincoln College Prep said win or lose, the point of competitions like this is to challenge young minds.

“They get a lot. I see a lot of leadership in this, which is wonderful, a lot of the kids since programming, can go off and do other types of programing, engineering. There’s amounts of things they can do, and they’re only in middle school,” she said.

“They’re working in teams, creative problem solving, hands-on activities, they’re learning about the environment and sciences,” said Laura Loyacono with the KC Stem Alliance.

The students are figuring out that learning can be fun.

“I’d never think I had this much interest in stuff like this, but it did. It’s great,” Trinity said.

The Greater Kansas City First Lego League Regional Championship, presented by Time Warner Cable and KC Stem Alliance, is one of the largest robotics tournaments in the Midwest.

The team that will advance to the First World Festival in St. Louis, MO, in April is The EarthShakers, a community-based group from Liberty, MO. The First World Festival will feature robotics teams from more than 50 countries.

By Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer
By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist

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