BOYNTON BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Source: Palm Beach County School Distrcit Press Release Verbatim): A team of fourth and fifth graders from Poinciana STEM Elementary School will represent South Florida next month in Houston at the FIRST LEGO League’s World Festival.
The Poinciana STEM TAZBots earned the Champion Award at the FIRST LEGO League’s Regional tournament, held February 25 at Boynton Beach Community High School. The TAZBots finished first out of 45 LEGO robotics teams throughout South Florida.
The students will travel to Houston for the World Festival, which runs from April 19 to April 22 at the George R. Brown Convention Center and compete against teams from around the world.
“I was just thrilled that they brought their A game,” said the team’s coach, Gloria Gibson, who also is the afterschool director at Poinciana. “We went [to the Regional tournament] knowing we were going to walk away with no regrets, and they left their best there.”
Poinciana’s TAZBots were one of nine teams from Palm Beach County District schools competing in the Regional tournament. Other schools participating were:
Carver Middle School – Carver Robotics
Christa McAuliffe Middle School – CMMS Innovating Swarm
Congress Middle School – Robotic Over Mind
Eagles Landing Middle School – Eagle Allies
Howell L. Watkins Middle School – Seminoles
Jupiter Middle School – Mariners
Lake Worth Middle School – Robo Warriors
Pahokee Middle School – Subaroos
Eagles Landing Middle earned the Judges Award at the competition, while the TAZBots, Robo Warriors and Subaroos all earned bids to the state championships in Polk County, FL, in May.
The competition was judged in three areas: Project (researching a problem and proposing and presenting an innovative solution); Robot Design (showcasing engineering and computer programming skill), and Core Values, (which embody aspects of teamwork and good sportsmanship). Top robot game scores are also honored.
FIRST LEGO League is an international program for 9- to 16-year-olds created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build and program robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After intense weeks of preparation, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments.
The teams participating in the Regional championship tournament were awarded bids based on their successful performance at various qualifying tournaments conducted throughout the region.
This is the School District’s 15th year participating in the FIRST LEGO League, and the program has now grown to involve more than 600 elementary and middle school students and 62 local teams. The tournament at Boynton Beach High was the first time that the program has been hosted at a Palm Beach County school. Palm Beach County is home to the largest number of FIRST LEGO League teams in South Florida.