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FLL by Mohammad Khan

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By Mohammad Khan

On Saturday, January 13th and Sunday, January 14th, more than a few Panthers participated in the FIRST Lego League State Championship Tournaments at Elgin Community College. There were 4 teams that had Panther students on the team: #16641 The Lymin Ducks (Chungtai Tian Aiden Lu, Kathryn Hu, Samuel Tang, Jerry Luo, etc.), #5538 Royal Tech (Both Mohammad Khans, Maaz Zubair, Nihal Kaki, Simi Kama, Helena Ilic, Olivia Meyer), #30697 RPML (Boris Rokhmanov), and #115 Titanium Ducks (Dylan Schmit, Kunal Jain). There were also some other assorted teams that included Kennedy students, including #23768 Park Addition Lego League and #33868 Cup of Milk. All the teams did their best, but sadly, none moved on.


FIRST Lego League, or “FLL” for short, is a competition for elementary- and middle-schoolers that combines aspects of a project, a robot game, and core values. The project is to research a major problem related to that year’s theme (this year, it was Hydrodynamics), come up with a solution, and present it to a panel of judges at the competition. The robot game consists of a game table with several “missions”, or tasks, built with Lego blocks. The objective is to use a robot made with the Lego Mindstorms system to complete as many tasks as possible within 2 minutes and 30 seconds. To those who are not familiar with it, the Lego Mindstorms system consists of a programmable “brick” with motors attached, so teams can make moving, programmable robots. The core values aspect requires teams to exhibit the core values of the FLL competition, some of which include Gracious Professionalism, Fun, and Coopertition (a mix of competition and cooperation). These core values are emphasized to ensure that teams work together and are learning important social skills. They are evaluated in a judging session that requires the team members to complete a task, such as creating a card tower, in front of judges. The judges then evaluate the team based on their method of completing the task, not on completion of the task, giving points to teams demonstrating core values in the activity.


While none of the Kennedy teams moved on, quite a few awards were acquired. #16641 The Lymin Ducks got both the Project Presentation Award as well as the Robot Performance 2nd place award, while #5538 Royaltech got the 3rd place Ambassador award. All the teams did their best this season, with every team having an Eagle moving on from regionals to state. All the teams did their best and look forward to next year’s challenge, which, according to the teasers from the FIRST organizers, is going to have something to do with space.

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FLL by Mohammad Khan