The team will be representing the state of West Virginia in the FIRST LEGO League Open Invitational tournament, having earned this honor by competing in the West Virginia First Lego League (FFL) State tournament held at Wheeling Jesuit University. The Mingo team fInished second in the Champions
Cup segment, which was the overall winner for the tournament. This meant that the students’ ratings were very high in all areas of the competition.
This year’s theme was “Climate Connections.” All activities in which the students participated were directly connected to climate. All 24 teams present at the state competition took part in the araeas of research, robot design, teamwork and robot function.
The Career Center “Critters” team consisting of team members Jordon Mounts, David Runyon and Crystal Endicott, placed first in the research area of the competition. Their project was about the aquatic plant hydrilla and how it has taken over lakes in this area over the past couple of years.
The Mingo students researched the growth patterns and climate trends and results indicated that it was indeed related to each other. They also had to develop a solution to the problem, preferably one that was eco-friendly.
During robot design, the students demonstrated their robot’s function and discussed their programming to a panel of judges, which included a software engineer. The teamwork interviews consisted of the team completing a project together while answering questions from the judges.
The Mingo County Robotics team had three teams competing in the Wheeling event last Dec. 13. The “Critters,” homebased at the Mingo Career Center, represented the Career Center along with the “Frogs,” homebased at Kermit K-8, and the “RoboRangers,” homebased at Lenore K-8.
As the Mingo students will tell you, the most exciting of the challenges is the operation of the robot on a 4 x 8 board set with items built from LEGO bricks. Challenges included turning off the lights in the house, opening the windows of the house, delivering items to the research area, and bringing insulation home.
The robot is made from LEGO bricks and any “attachment” that was used by the team had to be created and built by the students from LEGO bricks. Every mission had to be programmed to perform autonomously. Once the robot left home base, the students were not allowed to touch it until it returned to home base.
The Career Center “Critters” (Jordan Mounts, David Runyon and Crystal Endicott) finished in seventh place for the robot performance in Wheeling and also were awarded first place for their research project. They received a trophy made entirely from LEGO parts.
Coaches for the “Critters” are Robotics/Transition Coordinator Rickey Meade and Virginia Lee Taylor Mounts, Career Center teacher.
The Kermit “Frogs” won the trophy for teamwork in the Wheeling event, being required to show they they work together to solve a problem. In this case, the problem was assembling a puzzle. They worked together and did a very good job with this task. Coaches for the “Frogs” are teachers Joy Phillips and Donna Palazzolo. Team mentor is Chelsea Phillips, a member of Team 1249 - the RoboRats - which is Mingo County’s high school robotics team.
The Lenore “RoboRangers” participated in all areas of the competition. This is a rookie team and was reported to have done a fantastic job for a first-year team. Coaches for this team are Donna Davis and Tammy Runyon.
Meade and Mounts reported that all of the students had a great time, enjoyed the competition in Wheeling to the extent they are looking forward to competing again next year.
As for the coming invitational event in Dayton, Ohio May 7-9, the Mingo students are working hard to prepare for competition with 60 other teams from across the United States. They have presented their research project and/or demonstrated robot performance to Mingo County School Board members, the Delbarton Kiwanis Club, their respective science classes, as well as family and community members during Open House.
A bit about the members of the “Critters” team: Jordan Mounts, an eighth grader at Kermit K-8, plays basketball and is involved in many activities in school as well as the community. He has been involved with the “Critters” since the first day in 2004 when the novelty proteam, the “RoboRats) (Team 1249) for four years and serves as the videographer/photographer. This is his fifth year of robotics and he has participated in four FIRST LEGO state competitions.
Crystal Endicott, an eighth grader at Burch 7 -12, Delbarton, is active in many school and community events. She also has been involved with the robotics program since 2004 and has participated in four FIRST LEGO League state competitions.
David Runyon, a seventh grader at Burch 7-12, is involved in football and basketball at school and many other activities at school and in the community. He joined the “Critters” in the spring of 2005 and has taken part in three FIRST LEGO League state competitions.
All three of the students will transition to the high school robotics team, The Robo-Rats (Team 1249) next year and will participate in FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics in regional competitions with students from all over the eastern United States.