Holston IT helped sponsor two teams for the 2016 season: the Brave Bucks of Bristol TN and Geek Squad of Bristol VA.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which gets them excited about science, technology, and innovation, while teaching them valuable employment and life skills.

The 2016 Theme was “Animal Allies.”  The Project Challenge was:  Choose a problematic relationship between animals and humans.   Figure out a way to make the relationship better for the animals, better for the humans, or both.    Below is a summary of the creative solutions our teams had to this challenge.

The Brave Bucks, pictured above, studied “How can we keep deer out of gardens?”  The kids tested human hair and Ivory Spring soap as possible safe deterrents.  Soap appeared to  be the better option.

Geek Squad, pictured below, studied "How can we keep bats from nesting in chimneys?" They designed a small device to play recorded sounds of predatory birds; these sounds would scare away bats.

Each team creates a robot from legos surrounding an EV3 programmable brick.  They program the robot to complete missions on the competition table.  An example robot mission is: pick up a lego piece from location A, carry it to location B, and drop it.   The robots are programmed in advance; they are not remote controlled.

The clock ticks through a mere 2.5 minutes as each robot travels around the table, earning as many points as it can.  Team members cannot touch the robot unless it is in the starting corner.  Above, Abram points a robot toward its next mission.  Below, Knox and Sam take off one of their robot’s attachments and replace it with the one designed for its next mission.

2017 Competitions:

  • November 11th at the SWVA    Higher Ed Center.
  • December 2nd at the ETSU Mini-Dome.
  • December 2nd at Dobyns Bennett in Kingsport

The hallmark of FIRST Lego League is Core Values: judges assess whether the kids respect each other, work together as one team, and exhibit gracious professionalism.   Displaying these core values, explaining their project, and (most fun) creating an effective lego robot are all part of the competition.

New Teams Form Every Year, in July, August, and even September.  If you know some 9-14-year-olds who would like to start a team, https://www.holstonit.com/lego has a checklist to guide new teams. If you’d like to financially support our local competitions or a particular team, email alison@holstonit.com and she’ll connect you to the right people.