The Evaporators 12629 are heading to state!
Evaporators 12629, the name of Hobbs’ FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team, won its spot in state competition against 24 other teams during a FLL qualifier last weekend in at Las Cruces Onate High School. The team won first place in two categories, robot programming and mission completion and placed second in their Core Values presentation.
Now the Hobbs team, composed of seven students in grades 5-7, advances to the 2017 FLL HYDRO DYNAMICS New Mexico Region Championship on Feb. 10 in Albuquerque.
FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — conducts the largest robotics compeition in the world.
This year is the third year Hobbs has fielded a team in the FLL competition. URENCO is the local sponsor of the team, which competes in competition that is the brainchild of the Lego corporation.
According to Lego’s Website, “the First Lego League supports children and youngsters in order to introduce them to science and technology in a sporty atmosphere.”
Yvette Vasquez, one of the coaches of the Hobbs team, said several URENCO employees heard about the competition and approached management about sponsoring the students in the competition. The team started with three members and has now grown to seven.
Lisa Hardison, manager of communications and public relations at URENCO, said managers quickly agreed to sponsorship.
“We always want to encourage students to earn more about science and math,” she said. “Students today will become the URENCO employees of tomorrow.”
Hardison said sponsoring organizations must provide mentors who are “willing to help students do the work necessary to build the robots and to program them.”
Robots entered in the competition are built from kits bought from the Lego corporation. The kits include not only the familiar plastic components, but also instructions for building the robot, motors and controller, sensors and software that students must program for the robot to be able to complete its assigned task.
This year’s task revolved around water and included “exploring the location, use, storage, and movement of water,” according to information provided by Lego.
Each team is required to build a robot and program the software that lets it perform specific tasks. In addition, each team must present a discussion of what are called “core values.”
A list of the “core values” includes characteristics that almost every student working together in a problem-solving team would agree with. The values students defended in their presentation are, “We are a team. We do the the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors. We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together. We honor the spirit of friendly competition. What we discover is more important than what we win. We share our experiences with others. We display ‘Gracious Professionalism’ in everything we do. We have FUN!”
Students on the team are fifth graders Nicholas Allen, Trinity Vasquez, Abigail Johnston, Abrian Armstrong, Angelina Miniacci and seventh graders Kali Vasquez, Bailey Johnston.