The Blockstars robotics team from the Shoalhaven is off to the North America International Open First LEGO League competition.
(min cost $8)
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The team of Jess Weakley, Oliver Bristow, Travis Fuss, Josh Weakley and Saxon Perry secured an invitation to the event at LEGOLAND, California in May 2019 after performing strongly at the recent Australian National First LEGO League (FLL) tournament.
Hosted by Macquarie University, the team received the first place award for programming.
Prior to the nationals they competed at a regional qualifying tournament, and then at the state tournament, winning the champions’ award at both.
The Blockstars are somewhat unique as they come from four different high schools in the Shoalhaven.
Their coach, Kate, said it was fantastic to see them all bring different skills to the team, and come together to achieve their goal.
“It was all their own work,” she said. “They committed a large amount of their spare time to work on all elements of the competition.”
Across Australia more than 840 teams competed at regional tournaments, with selected teams chosen to progress to state tournaments.
Seventy teams competed at the FLL National Championship.
While the opportunity to compete at a national level was fantastic, the students couldn’t believe they were selected as one of only 13 teams from across Australia to progress to an international event.
Saxon said it was an exciting time.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet students from other countries and cultures, and compete against some of the best teams in the world,” Saxon said.
“Visiting LEGOLAND should also be fun as well!"
Every year, teams of students spend countless hours building, programming, and competing with a robot they design to complete specific tasks on a set board.
In addition, each team researches and develops a project relating to a specific area of science and engineering, creating innovative solutions.
The FLL theme this season was Into Orbit and the project is about living in and travelling through space.
The Blockstars’ project focussed on engaging human senses, through virtual reality and other technology.
They designed an earth pod to enable astronauts to experience time at the beach while in space.
This concept addresses nature deficit disorder which is experienced by people cut off from the natural world for extended periods.
The tournaments are run with the feel of a sporting event.
Teams are judged on their project, robot design and programming, robot game and their overall team participation. Attitude and interaction with other competitors and their community is also taken into account.
To help in their efforts in getting to the US, The Blockstars are currently holding a fundraiser to raise money for their trip and pay their tournament registration fee.
If you have a Christmas tree that needs to be disposed of after New Year, they would love (for a small fee) to pick it up from your front lawn and take it away for you.
The Blockstars have also started a Facebook page (The Blockstars - FLL) with booking details or text 0403 915 728 to book your pickup. You can also track the team's progress there.
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