Miller FIRST LEGO League team advances to state

Two FIRST LEGO League teams from Miller Middle School competed at the regional qualifying tournament Dec. 15, with the eighth grade team advancing to state.

The eighth grade team—“Sparkly Brown Paper Bags”— won the Champion’s Award for their exceptional team performance in Core Values and Innovation. This year’s theme is Senior Solutions and the team created a prototype for a removable light bar that attaches to glasses and enables seniors with macular degeneration to shine light directly where they need it for close-up tasks. The judges commended the team for their extensive research and for locating an expert who is interested in testing their prototype. The team includes Nick Summers, Mary Drummer, Ethan Thill, Jared Rice, Juliana Osgood, and Whitney Canaday.  Joel Thill assists as their tech coach.  This team will be advancing to the FLL State Tournament on Jan. 19, 2013, at Iowa State University.

The seventh grade team—“We’re Still Thinking”— won a certificate for their high-quality team performance in the area of Innovation. The team created a “ring-a-ma-jig” to assist senior citizens with opening ring-top containers such as milk cartons. The judges lauded the efficiency of the team’s design because the device would be easy to manufacture and market. This team includes Maggie Grimm, Jill Podhajsky, Martin Runquist, Lucas Duff, Joseph Anguiano, and Joshua Arment. Their coaches are Karin Podhajsky and Mark Runquist.

All 37 teams at the Regional Tournament (held at Marshalltown Community College) competed in three areas: Robot Challenge, Project Presentation, and Core Values/Teamwork. Both Miller teams exhibited outstanding creativity and teamwork in preparing their projects and robots for the competition.