From the Wayzata School District website:
Team Friendly Intergalactic Robotics Experts or Team FIRE took top honors at the First Lego League (FLL) Minnesota State Tournament in Robot Performance and in Technical Design. The first-year team finished eighth overall in state competition.
Team FIRE is a team of Oakwood Elementary students. First place in these categories at the state tournament is unprecedented for a rookie team so young. Team FIRE members are fifth grade students Abby Kassmir, Elizabeth Mack and Ava Monro and third grade students Charlie Kassmir, Michael Layne, Ben Mack, Isaac Monro and Henry Strom. The team is coached by Andy Mack and Jeff Matuza.
Team FIRE's third and fifth grader students competed in the FLL Division I State Tournament against 41 other teams of fourth through sixth grader students. To qualify for the state tournament, each team had to place near the top of their regional tournament with 389 teams competing in one of 13 regional tournaments in Minnesota.
Team FIRE placed first in Division I Robot Performance with a top score of 192 points. Only three teams in the seventh-eighth grade Division II exceeded their best score. Team FIRE accomplished this despite a unique and unpredictable setback in their robot’s computer, which led to malfunctions in two of their three scoring attempts.
Team FIRE also placed first in Technical Design for their design of Fireball, a Lego Mindstorms programmable robot. Team FIRE achieved their top score and best robot design of Fireball by adhering to the engineering design principle known as KISS (Keep It Simple Silly!). They used no electronic sensors in their robot, primarily motorless attachments, and simple programs to solve 11 out of a possible 15 missions in less than 150 seconds!
In addition to the Robot Challenge, Team FIRE researched a food contamination issue for their FLL Research Project and demonstrated their embodiment of FLL Core Values. The team studied salmonella in eggs and developed an innovative solution to inform consumers of the safe handling of uncooked eggs. The team also conducted a scientific survey and used the results to bolster their solution. The team is currently considering a trademark for their unique solution, which is a warning sticker to seal all egg cartons.
The FLL Challenge for fourth-eighth grades consists of a Research Project, a Robot Challenge, and a demonstration of Core Values. This year's theme is the Food Factor Challenge. Teams research food contamination issues, identify a real world problem, and develop and present an innovative solution.
The Robot Challenge uses a Lego Mindstorms robot designed, built and programmed by the kids to win points by solving several missions with the autonomous robot on a four-foot by eight-foot table in less than 150 seconds. The Core Values emphasize team work, cooperation, helping the community, and friendly competition. The theme for next year is Senior Solutions.