The Aspen Creek K-8 Loco Coyote team took home the prestigious Director’s Award from the Monarch High School FIRST Lego League Qualifier Tournament on November 15. The Director’s Award is given to the team with the highest combined score in four categories: robot performance, research project presentation, teamwork, and robot design. The Aspen Creek Loco Coyotes had the second highest score and received another award for their robot’s performance. This was the second year in a row that an Aspen Creek K-8 team won the highest honors at this tournament.
The team consisted of eight Aspen Creek students: Andrew Dewey, Casey Martin and Matt Spatz in eighth grade, Stanley Jones, Ben Krenik and Monro Obenauer in seventh grade and Nikita Kholodny and Jake Mound in sixth grade. Four of this year’s team members were also on the winning team last year, the Aspen Creek Ãœber Duckies. The team was coached by Jason Cole. Jason teaches Applied Technology and Wood Shop at Aspen Creek and teaches Computer Science at Broomfield High School. This was Jason’s second year coaching the team. Jason created an elective course this year at Aspen Creek for middle school students to learn robotics.
FIRST Lego League (FLL) is a global program created to get children excited about science and technology. It is geared towards children from nine to fourteen years old. FLL uses theme based challenges to engage children in research, problem solving and engineering.
This year’s theme is climate connections. Each team was encouraged to learn how the climate affects their own community, to identify an issue caused by climate in their area and to discover what their community is doing about it. They also needed to create an innovative solution based on the information they gathered. The Loco Coyotes designed and built a model of an underground irrigation system that would deliver water to the roots of plants to minimize evaporation and eliminate sidewalk watering and runoff. The Loco Coyotes then grew plants in their model. The judges praised the team for their outside the box thinking and their living presentation. Their project addressed the very real drought problem in Colorado and provided a possible way for farmers and homeowners to minimize the water used to irrigate crops and lawns.
The Loco Coyotes designed and programmed their robot at team meetings held once each week over the last two months. They used two person mini teams to split the workload into manageable chunks. Each team chose areas to tackle. Initially, their robot kept climbing the walls and was nicknamed “Spider.” Spider was eventually programmed to stop climbing and stay on task, but the name stuck!
With this win, the Aspen Creek Loco Coyotes qualified to compete for the state title in Denver in December. Go Coyotes!