Teamwork, cooperation, and respect are what it took for the Avon-based "Invisionaries" robotics team to win the Core Values Award for Gracious Professionalism at the recent FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Championship Tournament. The team received a trophy and medallions for each team member to commemorate their achievement.
FLL is an international program for 9 to 16 year old children (9 to 14 in the U.S. and Canada) created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology - and teach them employment and life skills. Children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS technologies and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight weeks, the competition season culminates at sports-like tournaments.
Like any other organized "sport," teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips.
Children and their coaches from 53 teams gathered at this ITT Exelis-sponsored event, conducted at the Indiana University-Purdue University campus in Fort Wayne to celebrate science and technology and present their solutions to problems faced by the elderly as part of the FLL "Senior Solutions" Challenge.
The competition was judged in four areas: project presentation, robot performance, technical design and programming of the robot, and teamwork, with a consideration of the FLL Core Values.
The Core Values Award for Gracious Professionalism is presented to the team whose members show each other and other teams respect at all times. They recognize that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible, on and off the playing field. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.
"It has been really impressive to see these kids working together and accomplishing so much in such a short period of time," said Invisionaries coach Herb Denny. "The Invisionaries have only been a team since late August. They advanced at the qualifying tournament in November to go on to compete in the state championship and came home with a first-place award in December. It is my hope that other teams will begin to form in Avon and Hendricks County as a whole. This is a fantastic program for kids who are interested not just in science and technology but also in working on a team and seeing their various skills come alive. There is a little something for everyone."