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WV Robotics Competitors Seek Senior Solutions

Thu Dec 6 2012

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Teams from across West Virginia will compete Saturday at Fairmont State University in the 2012 West Virginia FIRST LEGO League tournament, looking for ways to improve the quality of life of seniors.

The theme of this year's tournament is Senior Solutions. Teams, made up of students ages 9-14, will present research and program their robots in a series of challenges based on improving the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities.

The FIRST LEGO League Challenge has three parts: the robot game, the project, and the core values. The robot game and project are what teams do, and the core values guide teams through the experience. Teams compete in three judged sessions in the morning and then operate their robots during the table rounds in the afternoon.

More than 250 youth from 56 teams—more than 1,000 people including team supporters and tournament volunteers—will take part in the state tournament. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to the public.

Fairmont State is hosting the competition for the first time. The tournament is sponsored through a $10,000 grant from the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium.

Meri Cummings, lab manager/science resource teacher at the Center for Educational Technologies, will serve as emcee this year after overseeing the tournament's tremendous growth over the last few years as tournament director. She also served as a mentor to five Girl Scout teams this year, assisted by former Polka Bots team members.

"It is wonderful to see the growth of teams in the state," Cummings said. "The direction of (new tournament director) Todd Ensign from the NASA IV&V Facility in Fairmont and other volunteers from Fairmont State University will make for an exciting robotics tournament!"

Opening and closing ceremonies and all of the table competitions with the robots will be held in the Falcon Center on campus, along with robotics demonstrations and the LEGO Construction Zone, where younger visitors can build while the competition takes place. This year there will also be a Junior FIRST LEGO League team event, plus FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition demonstrations, representing the entire FIRST spectrum of competitions.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST LEGO League was created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Company in 1998. More than 48,000 children participate in the program.

In addition to the primary funding from the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium, Wheeling Jesuit University, and the Center for Educational Technologies, other contributors are Fairmont State, American Electric Power, and Motorola.

For more information on robotics in West Virginia visit the center's website. The NASATalk website developed by the Center for Educational Technologies and NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future also offers a blog on the state robotics tournament.

Here are the teams set to compete this year along with their affiliation and hometown:
  1. Scouting 4 Science, Buckskin Council BSA, Charleston
  2. F.I.R.E., F.I.R.E. Homeschool Robotics, Martinsburg
  3. Polka Bots, Girl Scouts, Moundsville
  4. Robo Mojo, Mountaineer Middle School, Morgantown
  5. Robobros, Jackson Middle School, Parkersburg
  6. Virtual Vikings, Community Group, Morgantown
  7. Ice Cold Cubs, West Side Robotics, Fairmont
  8. WIMS, Washington Irving Middle School, Clarksburg
  9. Moustaches, Washington Irving Middle School, Clarksburg
  10. East Fairmont Robotics, Community Group, Fairmont
  11. Rampaging Robots, Community Group, Morgantown
  12. Brainstormers, Bible Center School, Charleston
  13. Team TNT, Community Group, Arthurdale
  14. Sparkly Mustaches, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Lewisburg
  15. Fifth Elements, Greenbrier Homeschool Coop, Alderson
  16. Suncrest SEALZ, Suncrest Middle School, Morgantown
  17. DCMS 1, Doddridge County Middle School, West Union
  18. DCMS 2, Doddridge County Middle School, West Union
  19. South Middle School, Smart Stallions, Morgantown
  20. DCHS-1, Doddridge County High School, West Union
  21. High Tech Hornets, East Fairmont Junior High School, Fairmont
  22. Grannies' Girls, Preston County Gifted and Talented Girls, Bruceton Mills
  23. Learning Options, Learning Options, Fairmont
  24. Jayenne Thunder Blocks, Jayenne Elementary School, Fairmont
  25. Nerdbots, West Side Robotics, Fairmont
  26. Nordic Cupcakes, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Sistersville
  27. Hello World!, Community Group, Huntington
  28. Golden Eagles, Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Green Bank
  29. The Green Machine, Harrison County 4-H, Clarksburg
  30. The RoboCops, Harrison County 4-H, Clarksburg
  31. "H" Force, Harrison County 4-H, Clarksburg
  32. Gadget Guys, Community Group, Morgantown
  33. S.T.R.E.A.M. Team, Cornerstone Homeschool Cooperative, Mineral Wells
  34. Infini-Miners, Community Group, Morgantown
  35. PPS K-12, Paw Paw High School, Paw Paw
  36. BroBots, Preston County Talented and Gifted, Arthurdale
  37. Pandas, WVU Extension Service, Charleston
  38. Taylor County 4-H Robotics, Taylor County 4-H, Grafton
  39. TV Bulldogs, Tygarts Valley Middle/High School, Elkins
  40. The Silicon Chips, Cornerstone Homeschool Cooperative, Mineral Wells
  41. Logan Middle School, Logan Middle School, Logan
  42. Wood County NASA Nuts, Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg
  43. Laugh Out LEGOs, Westwood Middle School, Morgantown
  44. Block Busters, Westwood Middle School, Morgantown
  45. NXT Generation, Bridgeport Middle School, Bridgeport
  46. Mineral 4-H, WVU Mineral County Extension Service, Keyser
  47. Bot-aneers, WVU Upshur County Extension Service, Buckhannon
  48. Robo Raiders, WVU Upshur County Extension Service, Buckhannon
  49. Irish Robots, St. Joseph Grade School, Huntington
  50. Man Middle School, Logan County Schools/Man Middle School, Mallory
  51. Robo Geeks, Southern West Virginia STEM Group, Elkview
  52. Chapmanville Middle School, Logan County Schools/Chapmanville Middle School, Chapmanville
  53. Coal Bots, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond County, Chapmanville
  54. Robot Chicks, Community Group, Charleston
  55. Robo Roses, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Charleston
  56. Fusion Robotics, Harrison County 4-H, Morgantown