Tigger, Roborunners teams take First Lego League top prizes
To be considered as the overall champion of a First Lego League competition, a team has to be within the top 40 percent of all teams in the competition, and then, within the top four from the Core Value, Project Presentation, and Robot Design competition categories. It’s a tall order, but the Tigger team from Andersen Elementary School captured the gold medal at the First Lego League Pacific Championship 2017 on January 21 at Micronesia Mall. Despite this being Andersen’s first time entering the competition, Team Tigger bested 17 other elementary and middle school teams, winning an invitation to LEGOLAND for the upcoming Open Championship. The local non-profit organization SiFA (Science is Fun and Awesome) will provide the airfare for the team and coaches, and pay for the Tigger’s registration in the competition.
"SiFA stands for Science is Fun and Awesome, and this championship really showcased this in the students’ dedication and everyone involved,” said Dr. A.J. Sunga, First Lego League Guam organizer, SiFA founder, and GCC science professor.
“This competition not only encourages critical thinking in STEM, but instills ‘gracious professionalism.’ Through program the participants are challenged in three aspects: core values, research and engineering. The atmosphere was inspirational and energetic, and the team that will represent Guam is truly worthy of the opportunity,” Sunga said of the competition.
Sunga explained that the First Lego League Core Awards are the Project Award, the Robot Design Award, the Robot Performance Award, and the Core Values Award.
In the Project Award, the judges look for teams whose quality research, innovative solutions, community sharing, and presentation best reflect an in-depth understanding of the scientific disciplines involved with the project.
“In order to be eligible to win this award, each team was required to identify a problem with the way we interact with animals, create an innovative solution to that problem, and share their solutions with others,” explained Sunga. This year’s Project Award went to the Astumbo Dragons.
In the Robot Design Award, Sunga said judges look for teams whose design work stands out. They evaluate mechanical design, innovation, programming effectiveness, and team strategies for solving missions to assess overall design quality. The IMS Warriors won the Robot Design Award.
The Robot Performance Award recognizes a team that scored the most points during the Robot Game. Teams have a chance to compete in three 2.5-minute matches and their highest score counts.
“We had a unique situation this year; two teams were tied for first place. To break this tie, we looked at the second highest score, which went to the RoboRunners from Benavente Middle School,” said Sunga.
The Core Values Award is presented to the team that best demonstrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit, inspiration, exceptional partnership, and the utmost respect to its own teammates and in its support and encouragement of fellow teams. Team HAWKS from F.B.L.G. Middle School won the Core Values Award.
Finally, the Champion Award recognizes a team that embodies the First Lego League experience by fully embracing FLL Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and the project. The three levels of the Champion Award went to, respectively:
Bronze - Team DigiRunners from BMS;
Silver – Team RoboRunners, also from BMS; and
Gold - Team Tigger Squad from Andersen Elementary School
Sunga noted that the FLL Rising Star Award, for the team that lacks experience but performs like seasoned veterans, went to the KoKo Bots from Carbullido Elementary School, and the Robot Aesthetics Award, for the robot design that was not only effective, but pleasing to the eye, went to Spartans Robotics from Santa Barbara Catholic School. He also commended the event’s title sponsor, the Rotary Club of Guam, and the Guam Community College, for their support.