The team is one of 12 that will be competing at Rowan University on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The past year brought with it great milestones for the Moorestown Robotics Club, as it gained increased membership and hosted its first qualifying event. Even after such a memorable 2016, the MRC has set itself up for even more success, as three teams advance to the South Jersey to Regional Championships at Rowan University on Saturday, Feb. 25.
“We are thrilled to be going to Rowan,” Leo Ladik, a fifth-grade student at the Upper Elementary School and team member of the Jabberblockies, said. “As a second year team, we shared what we learned with a first year team during one of our meetings. Robotics is truly about helping each other out and trying to make the world a better place.”
There will be 12 teams competing at this event, and the top two teams will receive an invitation to either Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif., or to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., for the national championships. While in prior years MRC’s teams would compete at qualifying events primarily in Pennsylvania or Delaware, this year’s local qualifying events held throughout New Jersey have provided the teams with increased opportunities and convenience.
Helping them earn their spots in the regional championship, the teams, which will include the Robolearners, Jabberblockies and Sassy Cows, successfully competed at local qualifying events throughout the school year thus far. As a result of these qualifiers, the Robolearners and the Jabberblockies were awarded the top prize, the Champions Trophy, at the Moorestown Qualifier and Salem Qualifiers, given for coming in first place. Additionally, the Sassy Cows earned the Judges Trophy at the Stratford Qualifier, an award given to a team whose unique efforts, performance or dynamics merit recognition.
To earn these awards, each team had to complete missions set forth by the First Lego League, and that involved designing and programing a robot from scratch. The students also had to present a project based off their own research, be able to explain how and why they designed the robot the way they did, and exhibit good character traits such as teamwork and cooperation.
“Many people think that FLL is all about robots,” Evan Schaffer, a sixth-grade student at the Upper Elementary School and team member of the Robolearners, said. “It’s not. It’s also about helping people and the earth through engineering creative solutions.”
To achieve these goals, the FLL follows four guiding principles: the robot game, robot design/programming, the project and core values. Affirming the goal of helping others, “core values” encourage the students to work together as a team and requires them to give presentations on how they exhibited their teamwork and learned about cooperative competition.
“I’ve gotten into Robotics more than ever because it goes deeper into learning in a fun way,” Luke Mumma, a fifth-grade student at the Upper Elementary School and team member of the Robolearners, said. “Success is not measured so much by the trophies but by what they have learned. Moorestown should be proud of all of our Moorestown Robotics Teams, as they have all learned a lot.”
Extending beyond the regional championship later this month, there are also international championships and invitations that teams do not need to qualify for to attend. This year, the Robolearners will also take advantage of an opportunity to travel to Denmark over the summer for an invitational competition.