On Saturday, February 4, the Cooper Robotic Strikers, a robotics team from Cooper Elementary School, will compete in the FIRST LEGO League State Championship at Georgia Gwinnett College. FIRST LEGO League competitions involve teams of children, ages 9 to 14, who design their own solution to current scientific problems, then build LEGO® robots that perform autonomous missions. Contestants are judged in four categories, Project, Core Values, Robot Design, and Robot Missions. Cooper’s Robotic Strikers focused on finding a way to keep windmills from killing birds of prey.
Cooper’s team of ten 4th and 5th grade students secured a spot in the state finals after advancing from the FIRST LEGO League Super Regional Competition in Athens, an event that featured 36 teams from across Georgia. The Robotic Strikers earned a 1st place trophy in the Core Values category, and scored well in the others to move on to the finals. Kelly Fisher, one of the coaches of the Cooper team, says she is proud of the team and their hard work. “The competition is teaching our students how to build, test, and program a robot; how to work as a team and problem solve; and to refine research and develop presentation skills. Even though Georgia does not currently have windfarms, research is being done to possibly include this as an alternative energy source here in the state,” Fisher said.
The Cooper Robotic Strikers are not the only award-winning robotic team at Cooper Elementary School. The Cooper Robotic Ninjas came in 1st overall at the FIRST LEGO League Regionals competition and did well at the Super Regionals, earning first place in the Project category. The Robotic Ninjas won’t be moving onto the state finals; however, the team plans to continue its project research on biodegradable balloons and ribbons. The team’s goal is to replace latex balloons and polystyrene ribbon that often kill sea turtles and other marine life. The students developed a prototype for a polystyrene ribbon replacement and a large regional grocery company is interested in adding the team’s biodegradable ribbon idea to the company’s product line in the floral and balloon department. In addition, the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service has agreed to continue collaborating with the Robotic Ninjas to research other product ideas.
Georgia Gwinnett College Student Center is located at 1000 University Center Lane in Lawrenceville. Judging at the FIRST LEGO League State Championship begins at 9:15 a.m.