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La Salle Hosts First Ever Robotics Competition On Campus

La Salle Hosts First Ever Robotics Competition On Campus

La Salle hosted eleven 4th-8th Grade Teams For a FIRST Lego League Competition on Saturday, December 15th


Written by La Salle Robotics Team 5181 Media Coordinator Collin Price '20

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On Saturday, December 15th, La Salle College High School held it first ever FLL competition! Now I'm sure almost everyone reading this doesn't know what FLL is. FLL stands for FIRST Lego League, and is an organization that introduces students in grades 4-8 to STEM through Lego Robotics.

Each year in September a new game is released, along with a video and manual explaining it. The game consists of a mat with several objectives with a unique theme that the team's robot must complete within the time frame of two minutes and thirty seconds. This year, the game was space themed and entitled "Into Orbit." The challenge stems from the limited time frame teams are given to create their robot from scratch. Teams must build everything on their robot out of Lego and use the Lego Robotics programing software to program everything their robot does (and I mean EVERYTHING; even moving a wheel the exact right way takes a lot of trial and error).

On top of everything on the technical side of things, teams also need to develop a project involving the theme (some examples of this year's projects include dealing with space junk or staying fit in space.) Now everyone who knows any 4th to 8th graders know that this all seems like a lot for them. But the spectacular part is that they always all come together, bond, and form a cohesive team that has fun, even when they don't win.

So, back to Saturday. There were eleven teams competing at La Salle on Saturday, including two teams directly mentored by La Salle as part of our Robotics Team Community Outreach.

The teams at the event were: TOBOR Blue, TOBOR Red, NexGen 2.0, the LGES Hyping Hippos, the LGES NASA NERDS, St. Luke Catholic School, the GALAXIANS, LEGO Legends, Flyin' Lion Youthquakes, the LGES Space Otters, and the Galax-Sea Dogs. TOBOR Red, TOBOR Blue, and NexGen 2.0 will be advancing to the UPenn Championship on February 9th, and LEGO Legends and Flyin' Lion Youthquakes, the teams mentored by La Salle Robotics, won first place in Core Values and Robot Design, respectively.

Overall, it was a great time for all, with parents, students, and even the army of volunteers we had (to whom we are eternally grateful, as none of this would be possible without them) all having a blast. The best part however, was seeing the teams that we had worked with throughout the season going from the moderately interested middle schoolers they were when we met them to full-fledged team units at the competition, cheering each other on, and celebrating victory as one. Even though at the end of the day, the scoreboard indicated who the winners were, I think anyone there would say that everyone there had experienced something truly special and memorable for the rest of their lives, whether that be a kindled love for STEM, a new appreciation for the child's skills and teamwork, or just an amazing Saturday.

A special thank you to Jason Spera '89 of Aegis Software for an inspirational speech to kick off the festivities about the future of STEM for the students in attendance and his generous support of Team 5181 and to our STEAM Team at La Salle consisting of members of the Information Sciences and Technology, Science, and Mathematics Departments.

But the fun never stops for Team 5181, La Salle Robotics! Upcoming we have our two FTC teams (freshman and sophomore only teams) competing in Oxford, PA on January 5th and 6th, and the FRC season kickoff on January 5th, after which we kick into full throttle for six whole weeks building our massive robot. The competitions for FRC are in the spring (which are crazy fun, and I definitely suggest you come to one, although I am a little biased). So, now you know what's new and interesting with La Salle Robotics. Until next time, Team 5181 over and out!