Woodbridge was well represented with four teams at the First Lego League regionals, which took place November 23 at Shelton High School. Those teams were the Tsunami Surfers, the Eagles, the Magical Marios and the Robo Sapiens. The Magical Marios took the third place championship award at the subsequent state competition and the Robo Sapiens came away with the third highest top score in the robotics part of the meet.
The competition, which combines creativity and problem-solving with teamwork and strategizing, this year had the theme of “cities.” Each team had to present an innovative solution to a problem identified with respect to a building or public space in our community, said Joyce Shavers, one of the parent coordinators. In addition, the teams have to solve as many missions as possible with an ev3 robot that involves engineering and programming. The most important part in terms of scoring is that the teams have to accomplish these goals applying Core Values, including Gracious Professionalism, Shavers wrote in an email.
The Magical Marios designed and built a photobioreactor using live algae for cleaning the air inside buildings to prevent “sick building syndrome.” “Using algae is more environmentally friendly than traditional filters and there are many uses for algae harvested from the photobioreactor,” said parent coordinator Enrene van Tonder in an email. “We placed the photobioreactor in a sealed-off container to measure our results. We found a marked decrease in VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the air that was circulated through our photobioreactor.”
The Magical Marios include Aubrie Miller, Bailey Jordan, Daphne Jordan, Ella van Tonder, Jackson Ackerman, Liam van Tonder, Molly Miller and Todd Xue. Parent coordinators are Stillman Jordan and Enrene van Tonder.
The Robo Sapiens addressed the issue of noise in the cafeteria at Beecher Road School. They tested several different sound dampening materials, including professional acoustic foam. After they discovered that towels worked the best, they made low-cost sound dampening panels made of recycled towels, sprayed with a fire retardant and mold resistant solution consisting of boric acid and borax.
The team included Adam Fleischman, Lucy Jiang, Alex Klee, Jacob Klee, Adam Liu, Allen Liu, Mihir Nandy, Jacob Richards and Xander Shavers. The parent coordinators and Robert Klee and Joyce Shavers.
The Tsunami Surfers included Jennifer Gu, Evelyn Chen, Jordan Chen, Simon Eberhart, Jonah Konezny, Alina Konezny, Jack Morrison, Ryan Morrison, Jacob Storeygard. They designed a pod transportation system that works with current infrastructure to help growing cities move citizens around in a safe, sustainable and efficient manner. The Tsunamis are led by Phoebe and Matt Browning.
The Eagles consisted of Jennifer Gu, Evelyn Chen, Jordan Chen, Simon Eberhart, Jonah Konezny, Alina Konezny, Jack Morrison, Ryan Morrison and Jacob Storeygard. Parent coordinator is Rachel Morrison.
“This team’s project idea was to decrease our suburban community’s carbon footprint by having geothermal under the roads that would be accessible to all the homes along the roads. This would greatly reduce our towns reliance on oil and other fossil fuels,” Morrison wrote.
Most of the participating kids are students at Beecher Road School, although the activity is not sponsored by the district, and there is no such requirement. In fact, there is no shortage of interested students to participate, but the participation is limited by the number of parents willing to get involved to that degree. Once the league sends out the challenge for the year in late summer, it’s crunch time until the day of the competition. “You pretty much have to have the whole family involved,” Shavers said.
- The Tsunami Surfers designed a pod transportation system to solve the traffic problems.
- The Eagles suggested to offer geothermal heating and cooling town-wide to reduce the reliance on oil.
- The Robosapiens took third top score in the robotics portion of the competition