The 2011 First Lego League "Food Factor" challenge brought hundreds of kids, coaches and parents to the Greater Brandon area for the Jan. 7 tournament at HCC at The Regent.
The tournament was hosted by the Energy Elites and Techno Whizards teams from TechPlayzone, working with the Florida Advanced Technological Center (FLATE), a National Science Foundation Regional Center for Advanced Technological Education. FLATE is in residence at the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College.
"Dr. Carlos Soto, president of the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus, is the main reason we are able to host our event in such an awesome space," Bagley said. "HCC has been a sponsor of our tournament three years and we couldn't do it without them."
The Jan. 7 competition was for students ages 9-16. A Junior First Lego League competition, for students ages 6-9, was scheduled for Jan. 8 at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa.
The local First Lego League faceoff, and other such competitions, determines teams that can move on to the Suncoast First Lego League regional competition, which in turn can lead to a spot in statewide competition and then the world tournament (in the years that there is one).
Each year's challenge focus is on a mix of Legos and programmable Lego Mindstorm bricks, building robots that solve a world problem. This year's problem-solving contest concerned food safety, including ways to avoid food contamination.
Next year's topic is " 'Senior Solutions,' so it will be about challenges facing senior citizens," said Bill Shaw, coach of the two teams competing Jan. 7 on behalf of Kids Community College.
Here's a rundown of awards at the Jan. 7 challenge:
- Rookie Team Award — Terminators, Kids Community College, Valrico
- Rising Star Award — Robotic Raptors, Kids Community College, Valrico
- Research Award — RoboCougars, Williams Middle Magnet School (IB program)
- Creativity Award — Eagle Bots, Robles Elementary School
- Technical Award — Roboticas, Legacy Middle School, Orlando
- Core Values Award — IBots, Environmental Science Center, Brandon
- Programming Award — Robo Panthers, Lomax Elementary School
- Overall Award — Mustechs, Mulrennan Middle School
Going into the Jan. 7 contest, the following teams already had secured a regional bid:
- Techno Whizards, TechPlayzone, Riverview
- Energy Elites, TechPlayzone, Riverview
- Robo Panthers, Lomax Elementary School
- Mustechs, Mulrennan Middle School
- IBots, Environmental Science Center, Brandon
- Roboticas, Legacy Middle School, Orlando
Earning bids to advance at the Jan. 7 challenge were the following teams:
- Robotic Raptors, Kids Community College, Valrico
- Terminators, Kids Community College, Valrico
- Alpha QZ, Stewart Middle Magnet School, Tampa