Little Miami Intermediate Blog

LMJH, LMIS students win top award in Lego Challenge

Posted on: December 2, 2015

Team MPI, a Lego Robotics community team comprised of five students from the Little Miami and Kings school districts, brought home a top award at the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) 2015 Trash Trek Challenge District tournament in Bellefontaine, Ohio, recently.

The team, made up of members Kyle Evers Smith (Little Miami), Aaron Horak (Little Miami), Rhett Bendure (Little Miami), Paige O'Donnell (Kings), Lauren O'Donnell (Kings), was asked to explore the world of trash, from collection, to sorting, to smart production, and reuse. They had to identify a trash piece to research, invent a solution to help the trash problem and create their own LEGO MINDSTORMS® robot to accomplish trash-themed “missions” on a playing field. They also designed, built, and programed a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3 language to complete a number of tasks on a competition table in three 2.5 minute robot rounds. 

Team MPI asked the question: How can we help improve the way Little Miami and Kings school districts handle foam lunch trays? Their research efforts had them interviewing school custodians, lunch volunteers, food service directors, recycling and foam reduction-related national companies, local school administrators, Ph.D. chemists and engineers and even taking a very windy tour of a greater Cincinnati landfill. Their research culminated in a presentation including an options analysis to the food service directors for both Kings and Little Miami school districts and a recommendation for a possible cost effective path to reduce the schools’ foam tray footprint by more than 90% while also beautifying their schools.

Each team was judged in four areas: Technical design and programming, research project presentation, robot performance on the competition table, and teamwork challenges.

Team MPI was awarded the top Champions Award, which recognizes the team that fully embraces the vision of FLL, embodying the FLL core values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the robot game and project. The team was also acknowledged for their inclusion efforts to bring two new team members onto a tight knit team. Team MPI placed fifth overall in the Robot Board competition, and achieved the highest rating (Exemplary) ratings on nearly all their 30 rated areas, and second highest ratings in all remaining areas. 

The FLL team is in its second year and is mentored by Mount Notre Dame senior Catherine Evers Smith and coached by teammembers’ parents. The team is sponsored by Kim Family Dentistry, a Morrow area business.

FLL Trash Trek is a worldwide competition with more than 233,000 students competing in this year’s challenge. In Ohio alone there are 486 teams and Team MPI competed with 15 other teams on Saturday, Nov. 21.