Merced County Times Newspaper
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Le Grand Elementary Robotics receives top award

Le Grand Elementary Robotics team, including coach and Math Intervention Specialist Eric Hansen, pose with their first place award for robotic design.
Le Grand Elementary Robotics team, including coach and Math Intervention Specialist Eric Hansen, pose with their first place award for robotic design.

The Le Grand Elementary School Robotics program competed in The Battle at the Nest, a First Lego League Challenge event tournament hosted by Buchanan High School and the Central Valley Robotics organization in Clovis on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Le Grand Elementary fielded two teams in the competition where schools display their knowledge and expertise in engineering, coding and real-world problem-solving.

The Le Grand “Gold” Team was awarded first place honors in the Robot Design category by the judges.

Judges evaluate teams in this category based on their use of innovative engineering practices and the ability to complete various tasks presented by the First Lego League Challenge annual competition.

The First Lego League Challenge is an international competition for elementary and middle school students ages 9–14 in the United States and Canada, and ages 9–16 for students everywhere else.

Each year in August, First Lego League Challenge teams are introduced to a scientific and real-world problem for teams to focus on and research. The robotics part of the competition challenges teams to design and program Lego Education robots to complete tasks.

Teams solve a problem related to a different annual theme each year and then meet for regional, national and international tournaments to compete, share their knowledge, compare ideas and display their robots.

The Le Grand Elementary Viking Robotics teams are coached by Le Grand Elementary Math Intervention Specialist Eric Hansen. Students in grades 6-8 begin meeting in August during lunch and after school to prepare for the annual competitions.

“We were all very excited that we won first place in the Robot Design category,” said Hansen. “Our team knew all of the design components very well and was able to share why they designed and engineered the robot the way they did clearly with the judges. I’m very proud of both of our teams,”

Le Grand Elementary Superintendent and Principal Scott Borba emphasized the importance of computer science literacy to the future success of students in today’s world. “Providing our scholars with opportunities to learn coding, engineering and real-world problem-solving begins in kindergarten at Le Grand Elementary,” said Borba. “Participation in robotics is the pinnacle of this focus.”

This is the fifth year Le Grand Elementary has offered robotics and the third year of the competition.

Borba added, “I think they’re having so much fun they don’t even realize they are acquiring critical skills that will open up a number of doors for them in the future.”

For more information on how to start your own competitive robotics program visit firstlegoleague.org or contact Scott Borba at [email protected]

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