Prairie Middle School Technology students Participate in First Lego League Competition
Traveling to Post Falls, Idaho on December 1, 2007 were 13 students from the 7th grade Technology class.  Coach Martin had three teams prepared to compete in the rover challenge, technical, and presentation parts of the competition.  This is a new program at Prairie Middle School.Pretenders:  Shelby VonBargen, Tayler Heitman, Kayla Frei, Cody Tillinghast, Coach Martin, Jake Fernandez, Taylor Heitman, Callie Mader.
Fifteen teams participated in the competition in Post Falls while another competition was held in the southern part of the state.    Students had to build a robot and program it to do several tasks in 2.5 minutes, they had to conduct an open-ended research project in which they investigated the uses of energy and examined possibilities to improve energy use,  and do a presentation on robot design and programming.
Three teams from Prairie Middle School got on the bus at 5:00 a.m. and headed for Post Falls.  Team #5917, named the Pretenders, Jake Fernandez, Shelby VonBargen, Taylor Heitman, Kayla Frei, Cody Tillinghast and Callie Mader; Team #4079, named the Challengers, Shalya Sears and Tiffany Stinson; and the 3rd team #5919, named the Contenders, Kody Duclos, Matthew Jungert, Garrett Schmidt and Christopher Hoene.
The Challengers were first to break the ice for the rest of the teams.  Being scared and not sure what to expect, Shalya and Tiffany presented their technical piece and then were first to run the rover challenge.  The rover challenge had three rounds.  Teams were to take the best score out of the three rounds.  The Challengers ran the rover for the first time and just were not able to score.  So, with round one under their belt and 0 points, they were determined to make the second round a much better round.  So off to the pit they went to reprogram their robot.  
The Pretenders were the second group to run the rover challenge.  Teammates Taylor Heitman and Jake Fernandez stood tall and proud and ran the 2 minute and 30 second round and ended up with 40 points.  
The Challengers:  Shayla Sears and Tiffany Stinson.The Contenders, teammates Kody Duclos and Matthew Jungert ran the rover challenge.  They had the robot programmed to move trees to an area north of the main river, lower the satelliteís panel and move the water turbine to the ocean directly west of the sandy beach.  With these missions accomplished, the team scored 170 points in the first round.  After the robot challenge Garrett, Matthew, Kody and Christopher all presented their project in front of two judges.   Each team had to design a  poster with their energy findings and present how they researched their topic and what solution to energy use they came up with.
After all three rounds rover challenge rounds were completed, the Contenders and  Challengers tied for 7th placeójust 30 points ouf of second place.  The Pretenders placed 15th.  Thirty teams from across the state will be invited to attend the state competition in Meridian on January 26, 2008.  
All three teams from Prairie received medals and trophies
Team #5917 (Pretenders) received the Effort Award, Team #4079 (Challengers)  received the Against all Odds Award, and Team #5919 (Contenders) received the Solar Panel Award.  This team was the only group to program the robot to move to the house and lift up the arm and set a solar panel on top of the house.  In doing this the robot had to be programmed to move forward, turn at the correct angle and move forward again and then release the panel and it had to stay on the roof and not fall off.  This was a very tough task.
The first year of Lego League was totally funded through grants.  Thanks to the DeVlieg Foundation, GEAR UP and the Idaho Governorís Grant, we were able to complete the year with success.  
Contenders:  Garrett Schmidt, Christopher Hoene, Kody Duclos, Matthew Jungert.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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