Strawn LEGO Lions' championship debut

Strawn LEGO Lions robotics team debuts at First LEGO League Central Area Championship
Posted on 02/21/2019
District News Letterhead


Strawn LEGO Lions robotics team debuts at First LEGO League Central Area Championship

Alma Brewer Strawn Elementary School’s LEGO Lions Robotics Team made its debut appearance at the Central Texas FIRST Lego League Central Area Championship this past weekend at Westwood High School in Austin, Texas.


The team consisted of fifth graders Daniela Cardoza, Alex Rocha, Paola Figueroa-Martinez, Irvin Lopez, Aracely Loza Tavera, Paul Munoz, and fourth grader Miguel Mondragon. The team required a tremendous commitment in order to prepare for competition. They began meeting twice a week in October and every day beginning in January.

The road to this event  involved an earlier round of competition against 157 teams vying for one of the 58 spots for a ticket to the championship.  Teams presented in three areas of competition-- core values, a project involving innovative problem solving, and robot design. Additionally, teams had to score in the top 75 percent of the robot games for advancement. The Strawn team had a very strong showing at the qualifiers, earning the team its first trip to the championship.

For this year’s competition, the team had to develop a solution to a human problem with long duration space travel. The Strawn team researched the varying challenges astronauts face during space travel and identified the problem of increased radiation exposure as its priority focus. Students reached out to a member of the emergency response team at Chevron-Phillips to learn about how radiation exposure is handled on Earth. They additionally researched the technology NASA currently has in place addressing the issue of radiation exposure.

The team proposed creating a personal monitoring device, similar to a smart watch, that would alert astronauts when they are entering an area of increased radioactivity. They designed the device and used a 3D printer to produce a prototype. They called the device I.R.I.S. for International Radiation Informative System.

ABS LEGO Lions during robot games

Robot design was another leg of the championship competition. Students design and program a robot to complete various tasks. Strawn students used LEGO MIndstorms EV3 software to design the robot and present  on the design and programming strategies for completing the required tasks.

The last area of competition was the robot game. Teams have 2.5 minutes to complete as many missions as possible with their robot. They were required to set up the robot and run the program to complete the tasks, facing penalties if they interrupted or touched the robot during that time. There were three rounds of robot games, and teams were ranked by their highest score.

FIRST Lego League emphasizes the importance and requirement of students doing the work and only being guided by a coach. Coaches are prohibited from even touching a laptop or robot at the competition. Students are truly driving the experience and the competition.

In the pool of 58 teams of students who advanced to the Central Area Championships from the original 157, the Strawn team tied for 22nd place in the robot games. Strawn LEGO Robotics Coach Chi Rocha was proud of the team’s first championship appearance and the commitment and growth the students demonstrated this year.

“The experience our students gain by participating in FIRST Lego League is incredible. FIRST Lego League challenges their critical thinking skills, encourages innovation, and teaches STEM applications all while developing their teamwork skills,” said Rocha.  “I am extremely proud of the work our team did this year, to not only overcome challenges, but to inspire others along the way.”

Superintendent Mark Estrada added, “As school district leaders, we believe our students are at an advantage because they are in Lockhart ISD. The Strawn LEGO Robotics team demonstrates the incredible innovation of which our Lions are capable, and with instructors and coaches like Chi Rocha, they are certainly at an advantage to continue to thrive and lead into the future.”

The Strawn LEGO Lions team will be honored at the LISD Board meeting Monday, Feb. 25, at the ML Cisneros Education Support Center.


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