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Colleton County hosts First Lego League Ace Basin Qualifier, advances two local teams to state

The gymnasium at Colleton County Middle School was filled with young students all with the same goal, to earn a golden ticket. Nineteen teams came to the Ace Basin Qualifier to try and advance through the First Lego League to the state tournament that will be held on December 8, 2018 at Cane Bay Elementary. Only six out of the nineteen teams at the local qualifier were able to earn the golden ticket, advancing them to the state showdown.

Colleton County had 10 teams at the event. The other nine traveled in from surrounding areas to try and earn a coveted spot. Teams came dressed alike and all ready to give it their best. The competition began at 8 am and the team had to compete against each other in four areas. Each team stood before judges with only their teammates by their sides.

Coaches and mentors are not allowed in the room when their teams present their project, based from a real world problem. Judges then give the team an exercise where they must use their core values . In another phase of the competition, the team must brief judges on the robot they built. They go through the advantages and disadvantages of their designs. They tell the judges all types of information on their robot down to how many parts it took to build it. In a different room, the teams move on to a set a judges that listen to the team present the programming of their robot. They explain how and why they programmed the robot to complete the missions they would need to complete on the public display of the competition. Teams head to the gym to put their robot on the table where they are given two minutes to complete as many missions as they are able to successfully do.

At the end of the day, two teams from Colleton County earned a golden ticket to move on to the state competition. The Smokey Stars from Colleton County Middle School and Galadic Kid-ets from Northside Elementary. James Carlisle, from Forest Hills Elementary, was also named Best Coach at the competition. Carlisle brought a rookie team composed of student from Forest Hills Elementary this year known as the Garage Cubs. Carlisle has been working with this team in his garage during this school year and is excited on how far the rookies have come. His hope is that within the next few years Colleton County can expand their robotics to the high school level but knows it will be a difficult task as the cost for high school students to participate is much higher and he will need to enlist community partners in order for this to happen.

Carlisle summed up the robotics experience best when he instructed me to go home and watch a YouTube video called “Not a Robot”. The short clip explains how most people see Robotics programs as children building robots out of Lego pieces but the truth is it is so much more than a robot. Robotics programs are roadmaps that leads straight to engineering and a rope to pull a generation up and out of poverty. It is the sport that will win tomorrow and the software that will help cure cancer, build a clean engine and step foot on mars. It is not a robot, but a machine that will help build the people that will help change the world. The program is always looking for sponsors and community partners. If you would like to be part of building our students and their future careers, please contact Ed Williams at Colleton County Middle School, head of the robotics program.

Christie Slocum (503 Posts)