BERLIN — Students watched as robots they built from LEGOS buzzed between goals, picking up items, pressing buttons and crashing into targets.
Teams of elementary and middle school students competed in the 15th annual Ragged Mountain Invitational, hosted by Berlin High School last month. The top six teams out of a field of 22 qualified for the FIRST Lego League championship.
This year’s Rugged Mountain Invitational theme was space travel. Teams had to move solar panels to face a particular direction, place Lego figures into an airlock and move a payload down a ramp.
Students controlled the robots on the course through computer coding.
Berlin didn’t qualify for the league championship, but team mentor Paul Griswold said the students still learned about the value of finishing projects. He also emphasized every child has skills that can be valuable to a team, not just an interest in computers or technology.
“There’s a place for everyone and that’s what’s important,” he said during the Nov. 17 event. “When you watch a game and you watch a team...you see the satisfaction on their faces.”
Teams from Cheshire, Meriden, and Southington also participated in the FIRST Lego League — FIRST stands for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
A community team from Cheshire, named Blockchain, and three Southington teams — Wyverns, associated with Kingswood-Oxford School, DePaolo Factor, from Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School, and JFK Robotics, from John F. Kennedy Middle School — will be among the roughly 50 teams participating in the championship.
Berlin mentor Kavita Saxena told her students to focus on teamwork and collaboration.
“The good thing about my teams are they help each other,” she said. “Hard work and I always tell them to be honest and don’t focus on winning… and winning will follow you.”
The Hatton Rebel Bots, from Southington, also participated in the invitational.