Photo: Ramin Ansary (6th grade) and Jacob Chappell (8th grade) of Coppell Middle School West, confirm their robot is ready to go. /Photo by Jason Janik
DALLAS – After months of intense preparation for this season’s FLL robotics competition challenge “TRASH TREK,” nearly 600 North Texas youth came ready to compete at the eighth-annual North Texas FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) Regional Championship Robotics Tournament held Feb. 6 at Parish Episcopal School and Community Center. Winning the 1st place Champion’s Award was “The Boys” (with students from Fort Worth, Azle and Weatherford) who will advance to the World Festival in St. Louis, Mo., on April 27-30. The 2nd place team – “Robot Wranglers” from Coppell – will head to the FIRST® LEGO® League North American Open at LEGOLAND® California.
Both Champion’s Award teams were recognized for fully embracing the FLL Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in the robot game and project.
Produced by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and presented by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, the FLL competition featured 61 teams of nearly 600 young “engineers in training” who presented research projects, teamwork skills and robot-design strategies. Teams also built and programmed an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS technology to score points in 2.5-minute “mission” matches on a trash- and recycling-themed playing field.
“Championing our youth so they can excel in the sciences is very important to Lockheed Martin, which is why we come back year after year as presenting sponsor of the North Texas FIRST LEGO® League tournament,” said Hannah Stone, manager of community relations for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie. “The program is an excellent hands-on way to see the fundamentals of engineering in action and is a critical step in ensuring our region flourishes with up-and-coming engineers to propel our success.”
In 2008, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science became the affiliate and operational partner for the North Texas FLL region. The Museum coordinates and oversees all North Texas FLL events, the largest of which is the Regional Championship Tournament typically held in February. FLL continues to grow in North Texas, from 25 teams in 2008 to 340 teams registered for the 2015 season.
“We were thrilled to have such a large contingency of smart, engaged students participate in our ‘TRASH TREK’ challenge,” said Colleen Walker, the Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. “The excitement for this program demonstrates that STEM learning is continuing to see an upward trend, furthering our mission of inspiring today’s youth to pursue careers in the many exciting fields of science.”
The journey began in August 2015, when 2,400 North Texas students (and approximately 233,000 students worldwide) ages 9-14 received the “TRASH TREK” theme. They spent the next few months studying, dissecting and analyzing real-world challenges associated with the complex world of trash and coming up with innovative solutions using science and technology. After qualifying rounds took place in December and January, nearly 600 North Texas youth qualified for the regional tournament.
Sponsors, supporters and exhibitors
The North Texas FLL Championship Robotics Tournament was produced by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, presented by Lockheed Martin and hosted by Parish Episcopal School and Community Center. Supporting sponsors were ExxonMobil and Rockwell Collins. Qualifier hosts were the Allen High School, Amarillo College, Bethesda Christian Academy, Chapel Hill Academy, Conrad High School, Fellowship Christian Academy, Grand Saline High School, The Parish Episcopal School, The Advanced Technology Complex, Trinity High School, UME Preparatory Academy and Wedgwood Middle School.
For more information on the North Texas FIRST LEGO® League (FLL), go to perotmuseum.org/FLL.
Source: Perot Museum