FC Robotics Teams Compete in “Lego League” Championship

November 26, 2012

Robotics teams from around the area competed recently at the “FIRST Lego League Senior Solutions Challenge” at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, seeking to win awards in various categories and qualify for the State Championship in Harrisonburg next month.

Among the teams from Falls Church were “Techy and We Know It” and “Brick Breakers”.

“Techy and We Know It” collected the 2nd Place Championship Award, qualifying it for the trip to Harrisonburg.  The team scored consistently in the different classes of the competition and was favorably judged on the ability to work as a team, program an autonomous robot and research and develop ideas for a glove that can help seniors with failing dexterity retain their independence. 

"Techy and We Know It," receiving their award from Tournament Referee Bill Aucoin, left, and Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League Regional Director Nick Swayne, are, from left, Freddy Bruner, Flynn Yoder, Riley Lane and Ben Fong. Team member Jack Walton is not pictured. The team members all attend Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School. (Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Bruner.)

The Brick Breakers won the Robot Design award for Division II and placed as the alternate for the state competition. They are shown in the photo below with team members holding their winning robot design and attachments. In addition to competing in robotics, the team also invented a device to help senior citizens with Parkinson’s disease improve their posture and prevent falls.

"Brick Breakers" team members are, from left, Sam Updike, Ben Salak, Adam Hinden, Nathan Sperry (kneeling), Henry Stevens, Jakob Wegmueller, and Andrew Wong. All the boys attend Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School except Jakob, who attends Longfellow Middle School. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Poort.)

The teams were sponsored by  SAIC, SRA Cares, Flippin Pizza, Vet Advisor and Boeing.

FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is an organization created to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills.  The organization was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of products ranging from the insulin pump to  the Segway personal transportation system. Some 250,000 students have participated in the organization’s competitions.

November 25, 2012 


3 Responses to “FC Robotics Teams Compete in “Lego League” Championship”

  1. Ben Morris, Falls Church City on November 26th, 2012 10:15 am

    This is great! I would be interested in more info on how to get children involved in the competitions, and at what age clubs/teams typically start (I have two children, in pre-school and Kindergarten currently). Does anyone have good resources / places to look?

  2. Jacqueline Bruner, Falls Church on November 26th, 2012 10:00 pm

    Hi Ben
    The first place to go would be the FIRST (For Inspiration in Research, Science and Technology) website ( http://www.usfirst.org).
    Next check into the regional Lego League site at http://www.vadcfll.org/index.html and the VADCFLL facebook page
    There are are FIRST robotic programs for kids startting as young as kindergarten in Junior FLL progressing through FLL for 9 to 14 year olds to the Robotics Challenge at the High school level.
    Falls church is alive with robotics teams !
    With the exception of the High School Most of the FLL teams are coached and coordinated by parent volunteers so the best way to get involved is to start a team yourself!

  3. VirginiaFIRST Social Media Coordinator on November 28th, 2012 8:28 pm

    To Ben and anyone else who may be interested,

    Jacqueline listed some great resources on how to find out information on how to get involved. FIRST has a great continuum of programs for grades K-12 and each program is offered right here in Virginia! Virginia is very fortunate to have VirginiaFIRST – a nonprofit that exists specifically to make FIRST accessible across the commonwealth. You can get all kinds of information specifically about FIRST in Virginia by visiting our website at http://www.virginiafirst.org. You can also contact me and I can direct you to someone who can best assist you in providing more information and resources tailored for your child’s age and geographic area.

    Stacey Champagne
    VirginiaFIRST Social Media Coordinator
    [email protected]

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