The FIRST Lego League Qualifying event was part of the new Southern New Jersey region of the organization.
Moorestown’s robotics teams normally have to travel to compete, but on Saturday, Dec. 17, the high school’s robotics team, the Combustible Lemons FIRST Robotics Competition, hosted its first FIRST Lego League qualifying event at the Upper Elementary School. The event took place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and hosted many tech-loving students.
FLL is an international competition organized by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, an international youth organization for elementary and middle school students. An alliance between FIRST and the LEGO Group, the FLL is designed to challenge kids to think like scientists and engineers and to solve real-world problems.
“This competition is a qualifying tournament for the South Jersey region, and is the first of its kind to be held here in town,” Cindy Mumma, treasurer of the Moorestown Robotics Club, said. “[Being able to host this event] says a lot about how well the high school team is doing and how much they have grown in just a few years.”
Managed, run and hosted by the students involved in the Moorestown High School robotics team, alongside the club’s leaders — parents Chris Schaffer and James Mumma — the event was open to all family members and guests free of charge, with all proceeds going toward supporting the Combustible Lemons in their 2017 season.
On the cold Saturday morning, the event began with team registration and a coaches meeting. It then progressed into opening ceremonies during which Scott Megill, the founder of the club, received the founder/coaches award. Megill was also one of the judges for the day’s competition.
Next on the day’s agenda, core values, robot design and a research project competition, took place and judges took note of each team’s projects. An FLL Jr. Expo for kids ages 5 to 9 years old was held from 10 a.m. to noon to offer students in this age bracket an opportunity to show off their robotics projects as well.
“[FLL] is the most educational and inspiring activity my children have ever been involved in. Learning robotics is exploding throughout the country, and Moorestown now has the opportunity to offer a Lego Robotics tournament here,” Toni Farmer, tournament director and president of the Parent Boosters for the Combustible Lemons high school team, said.
After a lunch break, the afternoon at the event was spent conducting robot matches until 2:30 p.m. when all participants gathered for dancing and games while the judges deliberated. Around 3 p.m., the awards ceremony commenced, and it was determined which three teams would advance to the Regional Championship at Rowan University, with a chance to advance to the FLL World Championship in Denmark. Ultimately, the RoboLearners team of Moorestown won the championship and will advance to Denmark in May.
As for other results from the day’s competitions, the team RoboLearners won the Robot Run, the Quakerbots won the Project category, and the Combustible Limes won the Core Values competition. Additionally, ChySci2 won the Robot Design competition, and Techno Lizards won for the Spirit category. The teams of the Quakerbots and ChySci2 will be accompanying the RoboLearners to the next competition, the Southern NJ championship, at Rowan University on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The Combustible Lemons would like to thank its sponsor for the event, In Town Auto Repair, formerly Ed Ebert Auto on Mill Street.