Hood River teams take FLL awards

Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program (ORTOP) has announced the awards received by teams at the 16th annual Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments, presented by Rockwell Collins, held Jan. 13-14 at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

This event brought together 114 teams from across the state and region who have excelled in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) pre-engineering program, which helps young students explore technical fields and careers at an early age, stated a press release.

“Students are the key to future innovation, and a solid foundation in science, technology, engineering and math combined with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and digital literacy are critical for success. These are the skills gained through participation in the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program,” said Courtney Martin, Public Affairs director at Intel. “Intel has been a proud supporter of the Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments since the inception of the program.”

With the help of its sponsors and their employees, ORTOP has offered FLL for the last 17 years. Each team of 9 to 14-year-olds constructed and programmed their LEGO robot to compete on various robot missions, presented research on this year’s theme, and demonstrated their work to three panels of judges. The theme for this season was “Hydrodynamics” which prompted each team to tie their interest in LEGO robots to a contemporary issue. This year, each team learned about the human water cycle. Each team developed a presentation describing a particular problem with the way humans use, transport, or store water. Teams presented to judges what they learned about it, and what they recommend to improve the ways we interact. In December 2017, thousands of students on 440 teams participated in qualifying tournaments in our region; the top 25 percent competed at the championships.

First place for the Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, the most prestigious award of the competition, went to two co-champions: The Pink Fluffy Unicorns from Wy’east Middle School in Hood River won on Saturday, and The Fearless Builders, a Portland Bethany neighborhood team, won on Sunday. This award goes to the teams who are strongest in three categories: robot design, the research project, and core values. Both teams have the opportunity to attend the FLL World Festival held in Houston in April.

In addition to top awards, teams received many category awards made possible by Oregon sponsors. Hood River teams won as follows:

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award: Pink Fluffy Unicorns, Wy’east Middle School, first place; Hydro Automations, Hood River, fourth place.

Robot Performance Award: Pink Fluffy Unicorns, second place.

Bonneville Power Administration Gracious Professionalism Award: Hero Robot Monkeys, Hood River, first place; Hydro Hipsters, May Street Elementary, second place.

ORTOP thanks its sponsors for this event, including Intel, the title sponsor; Rockwell Collins, the presenting sponsor; The Bill Healy Foundation, BPA, Cisco, The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation, the East Metro STEAM Partnership, FEI, Garmin, Google Data Center, IBM, The Juan Young Trust, Maxim Integrated, The Oregon Department of Education, The Oregon International Airshow, Pacific Office Automation, The SOAR fund donors, Tektronix, Umpqua Bank, Vernier Software and Technology, The Wildhorse Foundation; as well as all its supporting community sponsors and volunteers. Thanks to the generosity of these sponsors, many of this year’s teams received a financial support to help them get started or to continue their participation.

For more information on the awards teams received and to learn about FIRST LEGO League, visit ortop.org/fll.

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