While pretty much every child has played with LEGOs at some point in their life, few stop to consider the actual engineering involved in them. But, there is a group of kids who use their knowledge of LEGOs to solve problems, big and small. These technologically-minded children are part of an organization known as the FLL, or the FIRST Lego League.
On December 10th, many teams from all over New England will come to Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School to compete in the Raiders Rumble, an annual competition. Teams have spent the past fall constructing a robot out of LEGO MINDSTORMS® kits, a specialized LEGO set, complete with servos and motors. The robot is pre-programmed to execute a series of maneuvers in order to solve a myriad of obstacles in its path.
This year’s challenge, Animal Allies, is designed to simulate tasks involved in the rescue of animals. The robot must accomplish such tasks as beekeeping and transportation, all in two and a half minutes. Each task is specifically designed to highlight a different aspect of engineering that the robot must perform, challenging the intelligences of all those who compete.
In addition, teams must create a solution to an environmental science problem of their choice. In a short presentation of four minutes or less, the team must convey their problem, their solution, and any public outreach they have performed on the matter, as creatively as possible. This may involve anything from a short documentary, a skit, or even a puppet show. Throughout the years, we have seen many innovative solutions to problems throughout the world.
If you have a free moment next Saturday, you should consider coming down to MVMMS to watch this event from 10-4. Even if you only stop in for a moment, you will still see some of the best and brightest of the young generation. It’s a fun and educational day for all ages!