On Saturday, November 18, 2017, the HCS Middle School Robotics Teams competed in the Montclair Society of Engineers First Lego League (FFL) Qualifier at Clifton High School. Teams are judged based on robot design, project and core values. The seventh and eighth grade team, Roboken, came in 9th place out of 43 teams in robot score while winning a Robot Performance Award. The fifth and sixth grade team, CouGears, created a project focusing on HCS’s work with H2O for Life and the African Water Crisis and placed in the top 8 overall teams. CouGears will move on the to the state tournament, the North Jersey FFL Championship, which will be held at Mount Olive High School on December 9. Congratulations to Mr. Kunkel and both teams!

About FIRST LEGO League: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/about-fll

Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Guided by adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.

It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice the Program’s signature Core Values.

Every year, FIRST LEGO League releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic.

Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Teams of up to ten children, with at least two adult coaches, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FIRST LEGO League Core Values. Teams may then attend an official tournament, hosted by our FIRST LEGO League Partners.

Past Challenges have been based on topics such as nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for the handicapped population, and transportation. By designing our Challenges around such topics, participants are exposed to potential career paths within a chosen Challenge topic, in addition to solidifying the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles that naturally come from participating in the program. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills which will benefit them no matter which career path they choose.