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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 FIRST Lego League North American Open

Local Legends Unleashed was named Champion Runner-up (second overall) at the Legoland FIRST Lego League North American Open. This is our Robotics teams highest placement in an international tournament ever! They competed against 80 teams from Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the US. CONGRATS to the team, coaches and mentors who made this all possible!


First place Robot Performance and 2nd place overall:

Local Legends Unleashed
Tint, Josh (EC8), Chiu, Wesley (OD), Gross, Michael (CFHS), Rajendran, Vishakk (OD), Wang, Jeremy (CFHS), Zhou, Alex (CFHS),
Gruber, Nik (CFHS)

The Strategy and Innovation Award:

Varmint Vigilantes

Seckeller, Ben (OG 8), Tenino, Gianluca (OG8), Armstrong, Devin (OG7), Bonomolo, Madison (EC7), Endean, Delaney (EC8), Goddard-Westland, Jaxon (EC7) Jump, Jake (OG7), Wood, Lily (6), Donnelly, Violette (OG6)

Our two rookie fourth grade teams were terrific. The Manzanita team placed 10th in robot performance (out of 48) and both teams were nominated for awards for their research projects.

Three CFHS students and former FLL team members were mentors for teams this year and volunteers at the tournament. They exemplify the "pay it forward" ethic by supporting students and the program that gave them opportunities to develop their passions for engineering, programming and research.

Sean Bergan (CFHS), Andy Liaupsin (CFHS), Jackson Tint (CFHS)

2016 Regional Tournament Results

Judges' Award - The Clash Scene Investigators
An award that is not always given but because the judges felt this team truly embodies the FLL Core Values because of their respect and support for each other. They are partners in a grant proposal to the AZ Game & Fish Dept. to involve students in monitoring and collecting data on animal habitats and range and usage of the new Oro Valley wildlife crossings.

Robot Design Award and Advancement to State - The Varmint Vigilantes
The Varmint Vigilantes developed a smart trash bin locking system that can be activated by garbage trucks to keep animals from getting into bins that have to be put into the street for collection.

Champions Award, Robot Performance and Robot Showcase Awards - Local Legends Unleashed
All around tournament winners! This is the 3rd year in a row that this team has won the Champion's Award. They created a 3-D printed splinting system to help wildlife rehabilitates repair the wings of birds of all sizes. Advancement to State.

Advancement to State with 2nd highest robot score - The 4th Battalion
A 4th grade rookie team who managed to do it all and come in second to the most experienced team in robot performance! They are developing a bat feeder which will be used by Saguaro National Park next spring to help the endangered nectar eating bats that migrate through Tucson to pollinate saguaro and other cacti.

Advancement to State - The Phido Phobia Fighters
Also a rookie team that demonstrated great research, robot design and performance and the core values. They did an outstanding research project on canine storm phobia and have come up with ways to prevent it.

The hard work the other teams have done:

The Guardeners spent the 14 weeks working very hard and putting in extra hours. They worked well together and have found some solutions to solve wildlife problems in the Sunrise Drive garden.

The Wraptors worked with an expert at TEP on raptor protection and he actually went to see their presentation and is eager to share what the team did. Their project was to raise awareness about the need to report raptor nests and activity to prevent electrocutions on power lines.

The Visionaries unfortunately had the bad luck of having a terrific innovative idea that was not recognized by the research judges. They did not realize that turning water hazards into dragonfly habitats is the solution to a number of environmental problems. It is exciting for the team to be receiving very positive response from 2 area golf courses. This team's work has a very chance of being implemented widely, and Charlotte will make plans with them to continue to contact golf courses.

Homeland Snakecurity were truly gracious professionals. With lots of hard work and extra time, they saw their robot missions fail repeatedly. This team accepted the lowest robot performance score in the tournament but never gave up trying. As an inspiration to others, their research may inspire some respect for rattlesnakes and reduction in the number that face certain death when they are relocated.

The Birdbrains didn't win any awards, but they were the only team to successfully hang their robot on the wall. They deserve a lot of credit for being prepared for a 9:20am presentation on a project that was not completed until after 9:20 the night before! There just wasn't a clear solution to the problem of window strikes that kill nearly a billion birds a year.

Congratulations to our all of our teams!

Much thanks and appreciation to all the coaches and mentors.


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