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Colleton County robotics teams prepare for upcoming regional competition

Forest Hills Elementary’s fourth and fifth-grade students are getting geared up about competing in the Ace Basin regional qualifier for the First Lego League. Students will begin competing on November 16 at 8 am in the Colleton County Middle School Gymnasium.

Students within the Colleton County School District are working tirelessly as they prepare to host a regional competition for the First Lego League for the sixth year in a row. According to Ed Williams, overseer of the program for Colleton County, the district will have 11 teams competing in the competition, which is set to happen on November 16, 2019, beginning at 8 am in the Colleton County Middle School Gymnasium. Williams explained Colleton County Middle School, Forest Hills Elementary, Northside Elementary, Cottageville Elementary and Hendersonville Elementary each have two teams that will compete while Bells Elementary has one team that will head into battle. Williams expects a total of 25 teams to compete in the regional competition. Of the 25 expected teams competing, six will advance to the State level competition, which will be hosted at Cane Bay.
Every year, First Lego League releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Teams of up to ten children, with at least two adult coaches, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the First Core Values. Once prepared, teams will then attend a regional competition, such as the one being hosted at Colleton County Middle, to try and advance to the state competition.
First Lego League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the “City Shapers” season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem in the Project. They will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the First signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism.
During a recent visit to Forest Hills Elementary School, it was clear the fourth and fifth-grade students are planning on bringing their “A” game. Both teams spoke with high enthusiasm about the projects they have been working on and how they plan on presenting to the judges on the day of the competition. Although Forest Hills has a very inexperienced team, bringing on only three students that competed last year, they are confident they are on the right track to move on to the next level.
New this year will be a mock competition for the Junior First Lego League, which is teams made up for third graders across the district. The budding programmers will set up in the cafeteria at the Colleton County Middle School and will have a chance to see how the competition goes as they will compete in a mock trial, getting them ready for the big show when they advance to fourth grade.
The competition is free and open to the public to attend. As the public will not be able to see the teams when they are behind closed doors with the judges, they will be able to fill the stands and cheer them on as they send their programmed robots into battle. There are also sponsorship opportunities available. If you or your business is interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Ed Williams at Colleton County Middle School or Christine Stroble at the Colleton County District Office.

Christie Slocum (572 Posts)