On Sunday, Nov. 15, Central Valley’s Jarvis Middle School will host a FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) competition. The event takes place 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at Central Valley Academy.
FLL challenges 9-14 year-old students to work together to research, strategize and present solutions to real-world challenges.
The focal point of the competition is the robot challenge. Teams build and program LEGO robots to accomplish a series of predescribed challenges. The computer-controlled robots must travel through a course, completing certain tasks along the way. The team whose robot maneuvers the course and completes the tasks in the shortest time wins that portion.
But the competition is much more. Students must also attack the project mission. This year is the Trash Trek—find ways to make less trash or to improve the way people handle the trash we make. The students must identify a problem, develop an innovative way to address the problem, build a display that shares the problem/solution and present their ideas to a panel of judges.
Jarvis has seven teams currently preparing for the competition. Schools from across Central New York have registered to compete. Jarvis principal Melissa Hoskey and guidance counselor Leon Frost are organizing the event, a first for Central Valley Schools.
“We have planned on 24 teams, but are prepared to expand entries to 36 teams. Based on those numbers, we expect 500-750 people on-hand for the competition,” said Mrs. Hoskey.
Simply keeping these organized and moving will require a small army of 75 volunteers. Even things like feeding the teams and visitors will be a big job.
“We have high school students who will serve as guides for our teams. The Jarvis Culinary Club and the CVA Honor Society will operated concessions throughout the day. It will be a busy day for everyone,” she said.
Mrs. Hoskey said this is the first year for the Jarvis LEGO teams. Most of the students have little or no experience programming the LEGO robots. They also have little experience presenting and defending their ideas to strangers. Teams of students meet with their volunteer coaches after school to prepare.
“This is a learning experience for all of us, but that is why we chose to participate. Robots, technology, science, collaboration, research, public speaking—they are a part of our students’ futures. If we want our Thunder to be ready for the world after Central Valley, we need to prepare them by giving them real opportunities to test and develop their abilities. This is exciting for everyone. And that’s what FIRST LEGO League is all about,” said Mrs. Hoskey.
Learn more about FIRST® LEGO® League in the following video: