The Cherry Creek School District has doubled the number of student robotics teams that are participating this year in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a program founded by Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway Human Transporter. It requires students to use a LEGO Mindstorm robotics system to build and program a robot that can perform autonomous tasks. Students are judged on their teamwork and "gracious professionalism" and also have to complete and present a research project on a problem and solution in their community.
Robotics classes and clubs have become more common at schools throughout the district, because of the increased emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM Education, which helps students develop skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration, which are essential to their success in higher education and the workplace.
Teams from Campus, Falcon Creek, Laredo and Prairie middle schools, Greenwood and Timberline elementary schools, and The Challenge School, took part in the 4th Annual Cherry Creek Practice Tournament, held Oct. 13 at Campus Middle School. The students are preparing for regional tournaments, including the Colorado FLL First Annual Southeast Metro Qualifier Tournament, coming up Nov. 10 at Prairie Middle School. During the qualifying tournaments, hundreds of students from across the state will vie for the chance to compete at the FLL Colorado Championships on Dec. 12 at the University of Colorado at Denver.
The Gojos, a team from Campus Middle School, bring four years of success to the tournament.
“The Gojos are the winningest robotics team in the district,” said their coach, Brenton Burnett, a STEM teacher at Campus. “The Gojos have always had at least one crew advance to the state tournament and they have won awards in every major category of competition; Teamwork, Best Research Project, Robotic Design, Robot Performance, and the Director’s Award, which is the highest award presented.”
“Last year, we created a special section of the Robotics Engineering class that is just for girls,” said Burnett. “In doing so, we fully doubled the number of girls participating in robotics classes. This year we have experienced another 27% increase in all robotics classes.”
Good luck to all the CCSD robotics teams!