What is the FLL?
FIRST® LEGO® League introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 4-16* through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today’s students and teachers build a better future together.
Our three divisions inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics. (quoted directly from the FLL website)
Northshore Christian Academy has a thriving robotics program with an award winning teams history. Known as Roarin’ Robotics, our teams compete via the First LEGO League (FLL). Each team has two coach/mentors guiding the students through the process of Core Values development as a team, project selection and presentation, and designing, building and programming their robot. Students work with professionals in the field of study for that year to learn more about current solutions. Teams also give back to the community in various ways.
NCA Roarin’ Robotics Middle School Team – FLL Qualifier Event
by NCA Teacher Jena Petrie, Roarin’ Robotics Program Coordinator
Our amazing Roarin’ Robotics Middle School Teams shined brightly at our First LEGO League (FLL) Qualifier Event on December 11, 2022. This year’s theme was “Superpowered – Explore where energy comes from and how it is distributed, stored, and used to work to innovate for a better energy future.” NCA’s 20 middle school students worked countless hours every Friday and Saturday since September coming together as two teams embodying the 6 core values of the FLL: Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, and of course, Fun.
Teams even had a chance to visit the Casino Road Kids Ministry Program and share with them about the NCA Roarin’ Robotics program and engage with the students to showcase their robots and programs and tell about each team’s Innovation project topics as they prepared for competition day. It was a great opportunity to share about our program and work with other students in the community. Our teams have so much to be proud of this season.
Rosa Redondo, Assistant Coach for the Lions Blue Team, sums up what all of our coaches, youth mentors, and parent mentors are saying:
“It was fascinating to witness the entire process of working on their missions, problem-solving, strategizing, creatively thinking, and working so well together. I appreciate the opportunity for the students to be exposed to this amazing learning experience.”
This season we had many students who had not participated in robotics or had any experience building and programming robots. For all of our students, it was the first time since Covid that we have participated in an in-person competition event. That brought many challenges in and of itself, as the past two years have been remote competitions. The best way to reflect on the season is to let a few Roarin’ Robotics members tell you their impressions of the season and competition.
“Robotics helps stretch your mind and have so much fun with your friends. Even if you don’t move on or get a reward, the experience is a thrill.” – Calvin, 7th grader
“This was a great experience for me and for what, I would say, the rest of the Lion’s Robotics Grey Team. The competition day was very good as it was mixed up with nervousness and having fun. We had to present our solution to this year’s problem, `How can we make a better energy future,’ which went very well. We did the robot competition, and we scored a high amount of points after overcoming many challenges. Afterward, we had a dance party and a rewards ceremony which went great.” – Elian, 6th grader.
“Competition is like a hurdle you have to work thru the hard times. I would love to compete again. The coaches are fun, and we get to build Lego. It was the best time of my life. – ” Mason, 6th grader
“Robotics is very fun because it helps you learn to code and helps build friendships. The competition is very fun and a good environment. The Innovation project helps me learn more about problems in the world. Everybody should do robotics if they can.” – David, 6th grader
As our competition season has ended, the learning and fun will still continue. Our students are planning to attend the WA State FLL competition at Amazon in Seattle on January 29, 2023 to see the teams they met at their qualifier event and also see what state-level competition looks like so they can improve for next year. Many students have also asked to meet once a month to improve their coding skills and try to solve more of the robotics missions on the challenge boards. We are working on a few field trips to continue learning about energy and having fun building great connections with each other beyond separate teams. It is exciting to see students who want to continue to improve even though the competition season is over. Building excitement and the desire to continue learning in our students is the best thing I could ask for as the Roarin’ Robotics Program Coordinator.
NCA 8th grader, Ella, sums up the season perfectly:
“Robotics was a really fun and impactful experience this year. We grew close friendships with our teammates and learned many valuable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and project management. While there were many challenges we faced, we were able to overcome them together. Competing at an in-person competition this year was a very fun experience and the cool thing about robotics competitions is that they aren’t just focused on winning; they are a celebration of all the amazing things we accomplished as a team this season, no matter how well we do in the competition.”
North American Open Championship
Before NCA rebranded in 2020, our mascot was an Aligator and our robotics teams were called the ‘Robogators’. Some years NCA also offered a Junior Robogators team for Elementary 2nd-4th graders.
In past years, students in grades 2nd, 3rd & 4th applied to participate in Junior Robogators. Our teams met once a week after school to work on core values, project, and programming.