Guest Contributor: Cari Jenkins
On January 17- 18, 2015, 117 First Lego League (FLL) teams from around the state gathered at Liberty High School in Hillsboro for Oregon’s 14th annual Intel FLL State Championship Tournament. They had been chosen out of 460 Oregon FLL teams (over 3,300 students age 9-14) who had competed in regional tournaments held in December 2014. The top 25% competed in the Championship Tournaments. Newport’s SNL-Super Ninja Legends competed in McMinnville in December and was one of the lucky teams chosen to compete in the championship meet with eight team members ranging from 4th to 8th grade.
The team has been meeting at least weekly since September to complete this year’s FLL Challenge – World Class Learning Unleashed. Team members had to research and develop an innovative solution to improving learning and education. SNL chose to research kayaking, and designed the Paddler’s Box Pro, which helps individuals new to kayaking keep the right form while paddling. Team members were able to take the US Coast Guard Paddle Boating class thanks to instructor Tom Murphy, where they learned about the issues of paddling and Tom’s paddle box approach. On top of the challenge research, the team also used a LEGO robotics kit to design, build and program a robot, which completes as many missions as possible on a 4-foot by 8-foot playing field.
As part of the tournament the team was required to present their robot and programs for judging, present their Paddler’s Box Pro to another team of judges explaining why they chose to design the Paddler’s box Pro, show their teamwork skills to yet another team of judges using the FLL Core Values, and then compete with their robot in three different competition rounds.
The SNL team was sponsored by Lincoln County 4-H and HC etc., Inc. Team members include Trent Kinion, Isaac Kinion, Reegan Jenkins, Katie Hartsell, Daisy O’Hearn, Max Kinion, Marcus Lehrer, and Kaden Raever.
Cari Jenkins is a coach for the Lincoln County 4-H SNL-Super Ninja Legends Robotics Team. First Lego League Robotics is one of several STEM student activities supported by 4-H Youth Development in Lincoln County. Contact your coastal county OSU Extension office to find out more about STEM learning opportunities for youth in your area. 4-H is a partner in the Oregon Coast STEM Hub through OSU Precollege Programs.