Area FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) teams, many of which are sponsored by the Arnold Air Force Base Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, Education Outreach Program, participated in a regional qualifying tournament in December.
Arnold Engineering Development Complex Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty attended to provide opening remarks and present awards to the winning teams. Other AEDC team members also volunteered at the event, serving as table referees and judges.
A total of 24 FLL teams, made up of elementary and middle schools students, competed in the tournament at Coffee County Middle School in Manchester. This qualifying event is a precursor to the state competition in February at the Tennessee Technological University.
Each of the FLL teams are guided by adult coaches. As part of the competition, the teams research a real-world problem, such as food safety, recycling or energy, and are challenged to develop a solution and present their results.
Students must design, build and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology then compete on a table-top playing field. This year’s competition theme was “City Shaper.”
Several of the Air Force STEM teams received special awards. The Salem Elementary School’s Salem Saint Brainerds, took first place in the Innovation Project, and the Hypersonic Narwhals received the Champions Award.
Olga Oakley, Air Force STEM outreach director, congratulated all of the teams and is looking forward to supporting the winning teams who are moving on to compete at the state championship in Cookeville.
“The teams did an outstanding job and we are so proud of these students for the hard work and effort that they put in to this competition,” she said.