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2101 E. River Road | Tucson, AZ 85718
Phone: 520-209-7551 | Fax: 520-209-7575
Office Hours: 8:00am - 4:30pm
CARE: 520-209-7549

Travis Kolter

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Lego Robotics

What is FIRST Lego League

FIRST Lego League (FLL) introduces young people (grades 4-8), to the fun and excitement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It is designed for students do the research and problem solving, which are integral parts of each element of STEM, to meet the yearly Challenge. Students identify a problem and develop an innovative solution.

There are three elements that make up the Challenge: 1. programming an autonomous robot (the Robot Game), 2. creating innovative solutions to a problem (the Project) 3. following the FLL Core Values where the children learn that helping one another and the spirit of friendly competition is the foundation of teamwork.

Each year’s Challenge is similar to real challenges faced by scientists and engineers, which leads to an understanding of the work of these professionals and an exposure to career options. The Project gives the teams the opportunity to more deeply explore the theme of the Challenge and propose a solution to a problem they select.

The teams present their projects for feedback from the judges, who often are experts in the Challenge field. FIRST Lego League imparts valuable life skills and excitement about how our students can make a difference in the world.

FIRST Lego League in CFSD

In Catalina Foothills School District, students who participate in FIRST Lego League (FLL) are afforded unique experiences involving a team approach to engineering, programming, problem solving, and research. FLL equips students with tools to be successful in a rapidly-evolving world. FLL presents students with real-world situations and challenges in which they develop their abilities to think critically, apply knowledge at high levels and use technology to access, evaluate and communicate information.
Led by Charlotte Ackerman, CFSD’s Teacher Leader for Science and Engineering, FLL team members work together over a 14-week session to address the current FLL mission and prepare for competition in December.

More Robotics Opportunities for CFSD Students

In addition to FIRST Lego League, CFSD students have other opportunities to learn and utilize robotics skills.

Lego Robotics enrichment classes
Beginning and advanced-level robotics classes are available throughout the school year and in Camp Foothills each summer. Students use new generation EV3 robots to accomplish designated missions. They engage in activities to learn to code and troubleshoot the robots’ programming. Engineering concepts are introduced and expanded as students develop proficiencies that promote deep learning and 21st century aptitudes.

FIRST Lego League Lite
In the winter and spring months, students who have an interest in participating as an FLL team member in the following school year are encouraged to join FLL Lite. This enrichment experience gives students the opportunity to get a taste of FLL without making the commitment to the full 14-week program. They get to try the current school year’s FLL mission and build their skills for future competitions without actually stepping into the arena of competing.

2017-2018 Challenge


The human water cycle describes the ways people find, transport, use, and dispose of water in order to meet a specific need or desire.

• Identify a problem within the human water cycle

• Design a solution that makes this problem better

• Share your problem and solution with others

People use water every day, but they don’t think much about how and why they use water. Whether it’s directly (drinking or washing) or indirectly (manufacturing the products they use or producing food or energy), humans have a lot of different water needs.

The Project challenge for the HYDRO DYNAMICS season is to improve the way people find, transport, use, or dispose of water.

At the regional tournament on December 9, the 8 teams from our district won 4 awards including best research project, robot design, robot performance, and the 1st place Champions Award. Six of the teams will move on to state competition in January.

Our six CFSD robotics teams had a strong showing in a highly competitive field of 42 teams at the State Tournament. All were nominated for 1 or more awards and our robot performance scores were near the top of the scoreboard. Two teams were in the top 5 teams overall and they earned these awards:

TEAM 10906 H2FLOW - Core Values Teamwork Award
This award recognizes a team that is able to accomplish more together than they could as individuals through shared goals, strong communication, effective problem solving and excellent time management.

TEAM 5158 Snow Brainers - Champion’s Award 3rd place
This award recognizes a team that embodies the First Lego League experience by fulling embracing our Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation is both the Robot Game and Project.

This year, our teams had the assistance of an outstanding group of high school mentors. These students were on FLL teams in past years and now come back to "give back" to a program that inspired their learning. Nik Gruber received the Youth Mentor Award for his exceptional time commitment and being a role model to 7 teams.


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