HOUSTON (WMBD) — A team of seven Dunlap Valley Middle School students now waiting to see if their entry into the First! Lego League world championship will rise to the top.
The students are competing in the First! World Championship, where the top teams from each state as well as dozens of countries will compete for “bragging rights” and for the Dunlap kids, Dippin’ Dots.
All kidding aside, the kids have designed, coded, built and tested a robot made out of Legos that can move on its own and perform a series of tasks. This year’s theme is ENERGIZESM and encourages teams to collectively reimagine a path forward and invent the future of energy.
“The whole experience has been amazing,” said Issac Hartman, an 8th grader at Dunlap Valley. “The First! organization has taught me so many things from working together, to team building to building to coding to how to come up with new ideas,” he said.
Oh, and it’s pretty fun too said Kavin Kumar Prakash, who is in 6th grade.
Ella Hartman, who is Isaac’s younger sister, said their team, the Fox Bots!, punched their ticket to Houston when they won the state competition in the First! Lego League challenge, which is designed for middle schoolers.
So where did that name come from? Alfred Dahlin said they came up with Fox Bots! as the bots is symbolic of robots and the fox part recalls their elementary school mascot which was a coyote.
“Foxes are clever and work together,” he said, noting that fox just sounds better.
There’s a robotics competition for high schoolers and a Tech Challenge for middle-schoolers and younger high school kids.
The kids are accompanied by their coaches and parents. One parent, Erika Bailey, who is the mother of Liam Bailey, said she was impressed by the technical aspect but was more excited about how the kids came together.
“As a Parent, we watched these kids grow as a team. Diversity and inclusion is something that was at the core of this team. They developed leadership and oratorical skills that will lend itself to be valuable for any future endeavors. The innovation, collaboration and communication were dynamic and helped them to achieve greatness together,” she said.
Laura Hartman, who is the mother of Isaac and Ella, agreed, noting the kids designed and created an “innovation project.” Dylan Simon said they made a device that can measure the efficiency of a window or its “U factor.” The team went through their middle school, found which windows were efficient and gave recommendations to an administrator.
The kids will find out Saturday how they did in the competition. Either way, a large bowl of Dippin’ Dots is likely in their future.