Build robots while growing minds

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The first Lego League clubs became prominent in County Surry, with local schools heading to regional and national championships.

First Lego League, or FLL, is a club that allows students to participate in the creation of a Lego robot. They learn technical skills, how to code, and the wide range of steps required to build a functional robot.

These robots that the students build take part in local competitions in the hope of moving on to regional ones. After the regional competition, they compete at the state level for the top prize.

The competitions are divided into four areas. Students and their robots are judged on these.

In early 2012, Dr Ashley Hinson, then Principal of Surry County Schools, was contacted by Sam McCormick and Joe Kromer about starting a Lego League in Surry County.

With the help of sponsors such as Insteel Industries, SouthData, Northern Regional Hospital, Renfro Brands, NCFI and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, this was able to become a reality.

Dr Hinson quickly contacted Dr Greg Little, who at the time was Superintendent of Schools for the Town of Mount Airy. They have joined forces to offer this new opportunity to both school systems.

In March 2012, the first Surry County Lego teams were formed.

Since 2012, the number of participating students has increased with 150 children in Surry County in a Lego team.

“Mount Airy Middle School always has two Lego teams competing,” says Kelly Anders, school counselor and Lego team volunteer.

Tech teacher and loyal volunteer parent Rick Haynes plays a pivotal role in the Lego team. Haynes helps students build their robots as well as code their robots.

Austin Taylor and Kelly Anders help create projects that kids bring to tournaments.

This year there were two teams at Mount Airy Middle School, the Postal Bots and the Kargo Kids. they have been tasked with finding solutions to freight issues in our community.

The Kargo Kids won the “Best Robot Design” award at this year’s Surry County Lego League competition.

“Both teams went to the Regionals and were in contention to go to the United States, but unfortunately failed,” said Anders.

The Kargo Kids will be a replacement for the next state competition.

Mount Airy Middle School has been very successful in the past, winning several awards in Surry County competitions as well as regional ones. They have been design champions several times and have won a handful of innovation awards, judges’ awards and robot races.

Mount Airy Middle School also visited the States during the 2019-2020 school year.

“The FLL (First Lego League) competition allows our students to be authentically engaged in team building and real world problem solving. The experience these students gain strengthens their leadership skills in a dynamic way, ”said Levi Goins, principal of Mount Airy Middle School.

FLL teams are evaluated in four areas. Innovative project, robot design, core values ​​and robot execution.

For Innovative Project, a theme is given each year. This year’s theme was “Cargo Connect”.

The teams were to prepare a five minute presentation using the following elements which revolved around how we transport goods.

Identify and research a problem to be solved in the transport of goods. Design a solution that helps others or your community. Create a model or prototype of your solution. Share your ideas, collect feedback, and reiterate your solution. Then, this solution is communicated during a competition.

Pilot Mountain Middle School Ice Cream Scoops were the champions of the innovative projects in this year’s Surry County competition.

Robot Design is another five minute presentation given by the students. They are responsible for identifying a mission strategy and designing and programming the robot to accomplish different tasks. The robot must be built with Legos and be coded to find a solution to their mission strategy.

The Kargo Kids of Mount Airy Middle School were the robot design champions in this year’s Surry County competition.

The Core Values ​​Award is given to the team that presents FLL’s core values ​​in all of their presentations and at Robot Games.

Core values ​​include applying teamwork and discovery to explore a challenge, innovate with new ideas about your robot and project, show how your team and solutions will impact, and have fun in everything. you are doing.

Central Middle School’s CMS Fury were the Core Values ​​Champions this year at the Surry County competition.

Robot Game is the last of the four events. Teams must build and program a Lego robot to accomplish various missions on the robot’s game table. Teams have two and a half minutes to complete as many missions as possible.

The Elkin Middle School CyberElks were the robotic game champions at this year’s Surry County competition.

Several schools in Surry County have participated in state-level competitions.

Gentry Middle School currently has two more teams in the competition and will compete in the States in January.

Pilot Mountain Middle School has a team acting as a backup in the Greensboro qualifying event.


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