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Aspen Middle Schoolers head to Lego Robotics State Championship

AMS Lego Robotics Teams head to the state championship in Denver.
Courtesy Photo

Their team name may be the Robot Rookies, but these Aspen middle schoolers are no newbies when it comes to Lego Robotics. The five members of the Robot Rookies are heading to the First Lego League State Challenge Colorado State Championship on Dec. 10 for the second year in a row.

The Robot Rookies — a team made up of Hayden Bailey, Max Carney, Spencer Ward, Wyatt Weins and Bennett Zilberman — placed second in the competition last year, when they actually were rookies.

The students from all teams shared their enthusiasm for coding and making the robots work.



“My favorite part is seeing the robot work for the first time. We had just finished coding it, and it was the best part of the day,” said Hayden.

Wyatt said his team is hoping for first place this year, after their second place finish in 2021.




Maybe as exciting as qualifying for a state competition is the prospect of travel for the students. TuxBots, AIR and Electric Blitz, three other teams from Aspen Middle School, will join the Robot Rookies at CU Denver for the statewide competition, where they will face robotics teams from across the state.

Robot Rookies are returning to the state championship and are looking for a first place win.
Courtesy Photo

“I’m excited to see other teams,” Bennett said.

The competition goes far beyond the design and coding of the robot. In fact, the team that placed 39th out of 45 in the robot competition ended up finishing first in the qualifier. During the robot competition, students have three 2.5 minute sessions to complete 13 missions. They are scored on their best round, and this only makes up a quarter of their total score.

The contest always comes with a theme, this year’s being improving energy journeys. Students research the problem and talk to experts to come up with their innovation project, which is independent of the robot design.

The other part of their score is based off the 30-minute presentation students give to the judges at the beginning of the day. They talk about their robot design and innovation project and are judged on how the communicate with each other and how well they interchangeably talk about the robot and their project.

Marlowe Lewis, a member of TuxBots, described the feeling of excitement when they found out they were going to state.

“When we were getting awards, we looked at the boards and saw we were going to state. All our work had paid off,” she said.

At the qualifiers, Robot Rookies placed first in the robot game, and AIR received the Judges Award for the innovative engineering of their project. Team 7908, who did not qualify for state, received second place for their project design, and Electric Blitz and TuxBots won awards for qualifying.

Aspen Middle School First Lego League Robotics Club is supported by Aspen Education Foundation and includes students from grades 5-8. This year, the program was before and after school, allowing for a few non-AMS kids to participate. During the weeks leading up to the competition, students meet daily to work on their projects.

Many students agreed the hardest part was working with a team. They jumped at the chance to share their favorite parts, some of which were the coding of the robot, seeing their team names on the state board and going to another tournament, where every team has a chance at placing.

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