Middle-schoolers across the state who design, build, and code their own robots competed in a teleconferenced competition this past Saturday. The robotics regional qualifier is a GCI-sponsored event through First Lego League, a STEM – or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – program that challenges kids to build robots and solve real-world problems. This year, First Lego League asked teams to think about how animals and humans interact.
One of the Kodiak teams, the Robobears, wrote a skit for their robot about bears eating chickens. It may have won them the Judges Award according to 11-year-olds Adam and Divinity Munson.
The siblings have high praise for the robotics program.
“It’s very fun,” said Adam.
“It’s awesome,” said Divinity. “I know I’ve learned a lot since at the beginning I [had] no clue. So if you were to say, ‘Divinity, what’s a tank?’ – at the beginning I would not know.”
The twins constructed the robot using a simple programming system and Lego pieces.
Adam and Divinity say they learned coding from another teammate, and they all worked together when it comes down to building and programming. Adam says the competition inspired him so much that he started his own project when he got home.
“I built a giant crane out of Legos and it can go up and down and it has a claw on it so it can pick stuff up and I wouldn’t be able to make that without the knowledge of robotics. It’s just amazing.”
“We actually have to pull Adam out to get him away from the robot,” said Divinity.
The Munsons are able to fit their robotics projects into a schedule split between classes at the Kodiak Christian School and homeschooling. They say their dad, Mike Munson, is in charge of the science part of their education. He’s also the Robobears coach through the local STEM program A-K Teach, which brought robotics to the homeschool community.
The Robobears got an award at the recent competition, which means they’ll be able to participate in the state competition in January.