LA wins at FLL State Championship

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On Jan. 26, two Los Alamos First Lego League teams competed in Albuquerque for the State  FLL Championship. 

Team one was the Atomic Flying Pickles, comprised of sixth grade Girl Scouts, under the direction of Susannah Rousculp and Scott Doebling.   

Team two was a mixed fifth and sixth grade girl team (also Girl Scouts), under the direction of Karen Doebling and Vicki Erikkila, called the Banoona Skunk Band. Their teams competed against 27 other mixed teams from across the state and one from Durango, Colo.   

At the end of the day, the Atomic Flying Pickles brought home the first place Champions Award. According to the FLL website, this award recognizes a team that embodies the FLL experience, by fully embracing the FLL core values, while achieving excellence and innovation in both the robot game and project.  

This highest standing award qualified their team to attend two competitions coming up in the near future. 

They will first attend the World’s FLL Competition in St. Louis in April, and then the FLL North American Open Championship at Lego Land in California, in May. They will begin fundraising efforts soon to insure their team is able to attend these events.

 The Banoona Skunk Band was honored with the Inspiration Award for outstanding team spirit and enthusiasm. Both teams shared a Community Outreach Award from the Girl Scout Council for FLL education and promotion in their Los Alamos community.  

Teams, composed of up to 10 children with at least one adult coach, can come from a classroom setting, a pre-existing club or organization, be homeschooled, or just be a group of friends who wish to do something “awesome.”  

The idea is to program an autonomous robot (using the Lego Mindstorms robot set) to score points on a thematic playing surface, creating an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project, all while being guided by the FLL Core Values.  

These three elements — the Robot Game, Project and FLL Core Values — make up a yearly challenge. 

This year’s challenge was Senior Solutions. Teams trouble shot ways to help seniors navigate physical and other challenges that advanced age may bring on.

Both the Atomic Flying Pickles and the Banoona Skunk Band got additional  sponsorship from the Northern New Mexico Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering.