FIRST, the organization hosting both FTC and FRC, also has a third level of competition for middle school and junior high students called FLL, or FIRST Lego League. Participating students work to design a simple performance robot from Lego pieces using a Lego Mindstorms kit.
Teams don’t just build robots; they must also document their team’s work in a notebook and complete a project: possible solutions to a problem that relates to the year’s game theme.
This year’s game, Animal Allies, focused on how humans and animals interact in their communities. Teams worked to find solutions to big and small problems with animals both in their communities and around the world.
One particular team, the Eagle Bots, is located in North Richland Hills, Texas and is sponsored by Saint John the Apostle Catholic School. This team consists of fourth to eighth graders and focused on the issue of wild cats in North Texas. Due to changing climates, these cats are breeding for longer seasons and as a result, overrunning shelters. The team’s project consisted of bringing attention to this issue, gathering donations for the animal shelter, and encouraging cat adoption.
Besides their project, this team worked on building a small, easy to use robot that could accomplish key tasks in an uncomplicated manner. They wanted to focus on simple, effective strategies to achieve their goals.
This tactic, along with their excellent project and presentation skills, enabled them to reach the final qualifying round for the competition. After an exceptional effort, the Eaglebots went home with medals and the knowledge of how to succeed in later years.