to compete in Lego League
Prairie Middle School, of Cottonwood, will take two robotics teams to the First Lego League Competition on December 5, 2009. The teams will travel to Post Falls where they will compete in a Robot Game and present their team “project”. The teams have spent the past nine weeks engineering robots and creating missions for their robots to accomplish. The teams are presented with a challenge. This year’s challenge is to look at our community and discover how animals, information, and goods travel. Teams are to choose one main mode of transportation and do some research. Their research investigates questions like, “What are some problems with this mode of transportation?” “What can be done to solve the problem?”
The Ultima Monkeys, comprised of Captain, Tyler Hankerson, Daun Hoene, Emily McHugh, and Dally Ratcliff, have decided that the Camas Prairie and its surrounding communities could use a Monorail to make life easier. The team is estimating that at least 50% of the working population in Cottonwood must commute an average of 40 miles to and from work each day. The Camas Prairie already has an existing railroad, which would be used as the foundation of the Monorail. The Monorail will run off solar energy, therefore conserving gas and cutting down on pollution. The Ultima Monkeys hope the Monorail will not only cut fuel costs, but will also cut down the number of accidents commuters encounter each year. Just imagine $10 per week for a safe ride across the blustery Camas Prairie to travel to work, purchase your groceries, go to the doctor, or get your football team and the fans to the State Championship game. Daun Hoene and Emily McHugh went to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and visited with John Nelson, Geographical Information Specialist, to gather geographical information about our area. He showed the girls how he made maps of the area and how to read the map.
Another team participating is Team Cobra, which is made up of Captain Drew Cochran, Jared Higgins, Lucas Arnzen, Bryson Higgins, and Dakota Wilson. These young engineers think that using a Black Hawk Helicopter would be the best source of travel for our area. The Cobras would like to see people using more of Idaho’s backcountry areas and having easier access to those areas. It takes a rancher a long and arduous journey to herd his cattle to Joseph Plains or Pittsburgh Landing. The use of a helicopter would allow the rancher to set his cattle down upon the land, which would normally have taken hours in just a ½ hour. Bryson and Jared Higgins visited with Lynn Danly of the BLM to acquaint themselves with some of Central Idaho’s rugged outback. The boys were given a quick lesson on how to decipher a topographical map, which is a necessary skill if they want to use the helicopter to fly in and out of harsh terrain. The Cobra’s idea may not be as efficient as the Ultima Monkeys, but they may get us to undaunted territory the Monorail may never see.
For those of you who are familiar with the Mars Rover, First Lego League is similar. Both of these programs offer a unique experience of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology. First Lego League is different in that it incorporates more technology into the project. The teams actually program the Robot to accomplish missions rather than drive it.