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  • The Fire-Breathing Nautili from Davidsonville was one of several local teams to participate in the First LEGO League Robotics contest held December 14 at Anne Arundel Community College.
    The Fire-Breathing Nautili from Davidsonville was one of several local teams to participate in the First LEGO League Robotics contest held December 14 at Anne Arundel Community College.
  • The Fire-Breathing Nautili from Davidsonville was one of several local teams to participate in the First LEGO League Robotics contest held December 14 at Anne Arundel Community College.
    The Fire-Breathing Nautili from Davidsonville was one of several local teams to participate in the First LEGO League Robotics contest held December 14 at Anne Arundel Community College.

Local Students Participate In LEGO Robotics Competition

Jane Seiss
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January 15, 2014

On December 14, budding engineers from the Golden Mean Cooperative Tutorial in Davidsonville competed in the First LEGO League (FLL) Robotics contest after months of preparation. The event was held at Anne Arundel Community College as a qualifier for the state competition to be held in March.

Assistant Professor of Engineering Marjorie Rawhouser coordinated the contest. “This was the third time we’ve done it,” she said. “The students were really enthusiastic. They were particularly energized.”

Teams registered to compete and were provided with a theme and work kit. This year’s theme was “Nature’s Fury,” and it required teams to build robots that would be useful in weather-related disasters.

At the competition, students presented their research projects and robots were judged on design and ability to fulfill missions, like moving obstacles or maneuvering a disaster scene. Teams also were evaluated on their core values and ability to work ethically.

The Davidsonville-based Golden Mean team, also known as the Fire-Breathing Nautili, was made up of 10 students ranging in ages 8 to 13. “We formed the team at the beginning of the academic year in September,” said dad Mike Antoniak. He coached and mentored the group along with Eileen Chmielewski, David Dolvin and Ward Eisinger.

“We met roughly every week on Saturdays for about an hour and a half. In the final weeks before the event, we met more frequently,” Antoniak explained. “Preparation included building a robot, programming and forming a team. The team was also brainstorming and researching for the required weather-related disaster project.”

“We were ranked second for robot performances,” he said, adding that the students benefitted from the experience by learning to be flexible. “This was a great opportunity for personal growth,” Antoniak noted.

The team plans to return to the FLL competition again in 2014. “I know they are capable of going to states, and I am really looking forward to helping them get there,” Antoniak said. “For me, promoting engineering is something that is near and dear to my heart.”

Participants on the Fire-Breathing Nautili team included Sam Antoniak, Grant Dolvin, Ben Eisinger, Ellis McDonald, Grayson and Garin Ohnmacht, Kyle Simpson, Sterling Swan and Audrey Wais. The students are from Annapolis, Crofton, Upper Marlboro, Crownsville, Davidsonville, Severna Park and Arnold.

The FLL Qualifier at AACC is an annual event funded in part by the AACC Foundation. Three teams from the competition will head to states. They are Cyber Tsunamis 1 from Halethorpe Elementary School, Tiger’s Fury from Bryantown in Charles County and the Storm Cougars from Georgetown East Elementary School in Annapolis. For more information about FLL, visit www.mdfirst.org.


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