One of our team members, Melissa Domen, coached a rookie FIRST Lego League (FLL) team called the RoboGirls. The RoboGirls consists of 8 Girl Scouts from Allentown and Robbinsville, New Jersey. Their FLL team number is 45051.
In FIRST Lego League, teams consist of 2-10 students from 4th grade through 8th grade. In each robotics season, FLL teams research a real-world engineering challenge, develop a solution, and compete with a Lego-based robot of their own design.
The robotics season theme changes each year. This year’s FLL season, CITY SHAPER, is about recognizing and solving problems in your community to make it a better place.
At each competition, FLL teams are judged on 3 different components: The Robot Game, The Innovation Project, and Core Values.
For the Robot Game, FLL teams must design a robot to complete 14 different missions that are located on a flat table. Each mission is a different structure made out of Legos, and each mission represents a real-world problem that cities and communities face everyday. Teams score points depending on which missions and how many missions they complete. Teams must be strategic about which missions they choose to complete because a robot match that is only 2 ½ minutes long. Rookie teams usually only complete a few missions. However, the RoboGirls were able to code and design their robot to complete 9 missions! This is very impressive for a rookie team. The girls are currently meeting monthly, now in their off-season, to learn how to complete the few missions that they did not get to during competition season.
For the Innovation Project, FLL teams must identify a problem with a public space in a community, design a solution for the problem, and share the solution with others. The RoboGirls invented an innovative accessible playground safety feature. The device immobilizes swings to assist children with special needs to get on and off. The girls showcased this feature by performing a skit with putting together household items. The girls are currently meeting monthly, now in their off-season, to improve upon their invention. They all share a dream of getting their idea patented. They even have a local playground interested in using their idea.
Along with learning how to code a robot, and designing a solution to solve a real-world problem, the RoboGirls also learned about FIRST Core Values. The FIRST Core Values are discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion teamwork and fun. All of these Core Values are part of the FIRST Philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. At the start and middle of each of their meetings throughout their season, the RoboGirls played a variety of team challenges that focused on certain Core Values. These team challenges helped the girls fully understand what the FIRST Core Values are and how they impact themselves.
At their first competitive FLL tournament, they faced off against 23 other teams and were one of two all-girl teams. The RoboGirls won the “Rising Star Award” which is given to the outstanding rookie team. Our student, Melissa Domen took home the “Best Mentor Award”.