Pennsylvania’s Finest Robotics, a First Lego League robotics team from the Cumberland Valley School District, won the 2018 Penn State Berks Regional Championship on Saturday, February 3, 2018, defeating 43 teams from the area.
The team is advancing to the First Lego League World Festival held in Detroit, Michigan, in April. The top 124 teams from all over the world will be participating in the festival. More than 32,000 teams from 88 countries, attempt to qualify for Worlds, according to the First Lego League website.
Members of Pennsylvania’s Finest Robotics team include Cumberland Valley School District students Jonathan Chang, Kellen Conway, Caleb Houston, Tarun Malarvasan, Himani Pendse and Aria Sonalkar. The team’s rookie coach, Christopher Conway, was named the coach/mentor of the year.
This season’s challenge is Hydro-Dynamics, and teams were tasked with identifying a problem with the human-water cycle (finding, transporting, using, or disposing of water).
In their research, Pennsylvania’s Finest Robotics team learned about an “island” made of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. In response to this problem, the team developed a website for finding water bottle fill stations around the globe (www.bottlefillstations.com), and spent over 150 hours this season researching their project and developing the solution. Pennsylvania’s Finest Robotics is currently working on improving their website so that people can tag locations where bottle fill stations are located, hoping to have a more comprehensive website in time for the World Festival in April. The second part of the competition involved designing and programming LEGO Mindstorms robots to complete tasks related to maintaining an urban water system.
The First Lego League World Festival is part of the annual First Championship, which is the culmination of this season’s First programs.