FARMINGTON — After winning the Champion’s Award at the Maine FIRST LEGO League Western Maine Qualifier in Jay on Nov. 23, Smart Fun Engineers is looking to continue its winning ways in Augusta tomorrow.

Members of Smart Fun Engineers, a FIRST LEGO League team from Farmington will be competing at the Maine competition on Saturday, Dec. 14. The team is shown being congratulated for winning an award at the qualifier held in Jay on Nov. 23. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The Engineers, a team from private school Smart Fun Learning Adventures on the Fairbanks Road, also took first place in robot performance and won the unofficial playoff at the qualifier held at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay.

In FIRST Lego League (FLL), students ages 6 through 14 designed, built and programmed Lego Mindstorm robots to compete on a 4’ x 8’ table. During the tabletop games, students had 2.5 minutes to accomplish a set of pre-determined missions. Each mission had different point values with 320 being the highest score possible for any match.

FLL challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. There is also an innovation project competition involving a five-minute presentation on a related issue.

The theme this year was City Shapers. For the innovation project, teams researched a problem involving a building or public space, then developed an innovative solution.

This week Smart Fun Engineers team members answered questions about this year’s program.

Team member Maggie said, “We started working on this year’s challenge the first week of school!  We start having practice and team meetings right from the beginning of the school year.”

“We have nine team members and a variety of ages, ranging from 5th to 8th grade. Our team this year has five veterans and four rookies,” Reagan added.

Brooke shared information on how the team’s innovation project was chosen. “We all thought about solutions that might work and then introduced them to the team,” she said. “After, we put our ideas on the board and voted. Whatever one got the majority of the votes is the one we further researched. If it was a dead-end, we would pick another.”

Gentry added, “The issue we identified and solved was frozen pipes and our solution was our “pipe duo;” a pipe within a pipe that has water being circulated around the inner pipe so the moving water keeps the water in the inner pipe from freezing.”

Smart Fun Engineer members check out their robot’s performance on Nov. 23 at the Maine FIRST LEGO League Western Maine Qualifier in Jay. The team will be competing at the state meet on Saturday, Dec. 14. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Troy said, “The most difficult (robot) mission on the table was the roadblock because it was so hard to drive something under to lift it. Until one day I discovered a wedge. The wedge would easily go under the roadblock and complete this mission.”

Dean added, “My favorite mission this year was when we got to drop the crane because it was a sort of mechanical device that we didn’t have to operate yourself. The robot pushes into a lever to let down the box load.”

Kari said, “My favorite thing about FLL is the programming and the testing. One other favorite thing is the competition – I enjoy competing with the other teams. I also enjoy congratulating the other teams. FLL is such a fun competition to do!!!”

Mariah added, “The most challenging thing for our team this year was that we were building a new team with the older team aging out. It was a fun challenge though for us to step into our roles on the team this year.”

Three qualifiers were held around the state in November to determine which teams would be invited to compete at the Maine meet that will be held Dec. 14 at the Augusta Civic Center. The public is invited to the robot tabletop meets in the afternoon that are followed by award presentations.

 


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