Training the young minds

On Saturday Nov 14, 2015 many regional teams (with students ranging in the age of 9-14) competed in the First Lego League (FLL) Regional Competition in Columbus, IN. Several of the teams were from Bloomington, Indiana. One such team, comprised eight 5th and 6th graders from Lakeview Elementary School, won second prize at the regional competition. The team was mentored by Chris Hammond, Rick Evans, Tim Lam, and Gregor von Laszewski. The latter is working for Geoffrey C. Fox, Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of the newly developed Intelligent Systems Engineering department. Dr. von Laszewski, an expert in cloud computing, has together with the other mentors taught the students how to solve abstract problems and to program robots.  The students were able to take these lessons and transfer them into a successful solution to control their robot. According to von Laszewski “The team must be very proud as they competed against many older students and the achievement of second place in such a strong field is an exceptional success for such young students. This is an activity where the students stand in the foreground and we as mentors are happy to lay the foundation for future engineers.”  Programming is not the only task the young minds are exposed to in the competition. It consists of three parts, of which just one is programming. Along with the technical component, the team must demonstrate effective teamwork and an engineering solution to a real world problem. This year, the project focused on an environmental challenge. The students elected to work on eliminating six pack rings for plastic bottles and presented their unique design at the competition. Naturally, besides the mentors, the students’ parents are to be congratulated, as a lot of time and effort is spent by them to bring the group together. Let’s congratulate the Lakeview Lion team and wish them the best at the state competition taking place Dec 12th in Fort Wayne, IN.

Sponsors: The team would like to acknowledge the financial support from National Defense Education Program, IU Credit Union, K&S Rolloff, Lakeview PTO as well as others who provided Lego parts, including Dr. Fox and Robert Ping.