The Maine FIRST LEGO League Western Maine Qualifier was held at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay on Saturday, Nov. 23. Just the Incredible 6, a team from Spruce Mountain Middle School, earned first place for its innovation project. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Months of hard work paid off for three Spruce Mountain Middle School FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams.

The school had four different teams compete this year and three have advanced to the next level based on their performance at the Maine FLL Western Maine Qualifier held Saturday, Nov. 23, at Spruce Mountain High School.

During the tabletop robot games that afternoon Rob Taylor, the advisor for all SMMS teams said, “Things are going really, really well. The kids are all having a ball.”

Taking first place for their innovation project was team Just the Incredible 6. Team members came up with a non-alcoholic based sanitation method for the Western Maine Play Museum in Wilton.

For the innovation project award, 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 a building or public space in their community.

At the Maine FLL Western Maine Qualifier held in Jay Nov. 23, four SMMS teams competed. The Space Savers team took second place in core values. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The Space Savers team spent the fall learning about solar panels. Members developed a method for putting solar panels on top of a structure to supply electricity. The team earned second place in core values at the meet.


FLL presents this award 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.

Silent Bot Deadly placed third in robot performance out of the 23 teams competing. This team also worked on making bathrooms cleaner in public spaces.

“This was one of my most enjoyable times,” Taylor said. “The kids did a truly awesome job.”

FLL challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. Teams will choose and solve a real-world problem. They will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions during the robot games. Teams also participate in an innovation project competition involving a five-minute presentation on an issue related to the theme.

This year the theme was City Shaper. SMMS FLL advisor Rob Taylor said some might question how to make the City Shaper theme apply to rural Maine.

“The innovation project is very much open-ended,” he said. “Teams can research a problem involving a building or public space, develop an innovative solution. Students can make it relative to them, their community.”

Taylor recognized the fantastic job the planning committee did to organize the qualifier. Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 (SMART) have hosted the regional qualifier since one was first held in 2015. Some 70 volunteers were needed to judge, tabulate scores, provide food and man the concession stand.

The volunteer award this year was presented to the Gilboe family. Austin and Baylee are SMART alumni who have helped at the qualifier for years. Their parents Ron and Melany have also been involved.

Each year a volunteer award is presented at the Maine FLL Western Maine Qualifier. The Gilboe family, seen from left Ron, Melany, Baylee and Austin received the award Saturday, Nov. 23, in Jay. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

At the Maine FLL western Maine Qualifier held in Jay Saturday, Nov. 23, SMMS team Silent Bot Deadly finished third in robot performance. Here the team watches as its robot attempts to complete a mission. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser


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