Twister Tech Team of Oklahoma Road Middle School will be joined by the Destroying Dalmatians of Piney Ridge Elementary, Dynamic Dino Drivers of Eldersburg Elementary and Robo-Scorpions of Sykesville Middle to compete in the FIRST Lego League State Tournament later this week.
FIRST is an acronym for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The four Carroll County Public Schools teams include students in fourth through eighth grades who earned their spots in the state tournament via a virtual “Roar of the Robots” tournament in February. Each team spent months designing and building a robot that solved real-world transportation scenarios.
“[Students] had a choice of 16 missions to attempt to accomplish all things related to the cargo industry and moving materials,” said CCPS STEM coordinator Bryan Shumaker. “So there were samples of airplanes, cargo holds, trains, bridges … the robot had to perform tasks that would improve the linkage to transportation.”
Oklahoma Road Middle School teacher Renee Cudney is the Twister Tech Team’s coach. She said she is “beyond proud” of her students’ performance in last month’s competition. The team began preparing in October, and as the February competition neared, met about four hours per week to practice and videotape their presentations.
“The kids were amazing. … It was challenging with COVID, as we had a few members out here and there — but, in the end, the kids all found their little niche and focused on one part of the competition,” Cudney said.
Teams were judged based on overall performance, robot design and teamwork. Oklahoma Road Middle received the first place Core Values Award and Sykesville was selected for the second place Champion’s Award.
“We had to put together a five-slide PowerPoint on our robot design — the kids did that all by themselves and it turned out amazing,” Cudney said.
At the state level 38 teams will compete virtually on Saturday, according to Shumaker.
“The competition is a culmination of a lot of work that, in most cases, occurs from October through February. … Making it to the state level is just a fantastic accomplishment,” Shumaker said.