Glacier Creek team fares well at FLL regional

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Epsilon SaberBOTz, a team made up of four Glacier Creek students competed at the First Lego League Regional Tournament held at Janesville Parker High School on Sunday, Nov. 19.

Another Glacier Creek team, Talon of the Wyvern, also competed.

Epsilon SaberBOTz received the Mechanical Design Award, which recognizes a team that designs and develops a mechanically sound robot that is durable, efficient, and highly capable of performing challenge missions. The team was also nominated for the Champions Award' and Gracious Professionalism Award. 

In the robot game, they scored the second-highest points. Talon of the Wyvern had the highest point total.

Team Epsilon SaberBOTz was one of 8 teams out of 28 that competed at regionals to advance to the sectional tournament next month in Janesville. 

Team Epsilon SaberBOTz is comprised of eighth-graders Varun Gupta, Eric Ma and Clay Kreimeier, and seventh-grader Corbin Slinde.  Derren Slinde is team coach, while MHS ninth-grader Calvin Slinde is the team mentor.

The theme this year was Hydrodynamics. For the project, teams were required to identify a problem in the way people find, transport, use, or dispose of water. 

Team Epsilon SaberBOTz chose to study the problem of the water clarity of Lake Mendota getting worse due to the tiny invasive species, the spiny water flea. They discovered that because the spiny water flea eats the algae-eating zooplankton, Daphnia, algae blooms become more prevalent, which makes water recreation less desirable. They also learned since the spiny water flea invasion of Lake Mendota in 2009, the population of Daphnia has decreased by 95 percent, which made the water clarity worse by 1 meter. 

Current efforts are focused on stopping the transport and spread of harmful invasive species, such as the spiny water flea, from one body of water to another. Because there is no solution to get rid of the spiny water fleas once they become established in a lake, the kids chose to create a trap. They worked closely with Jake Walsh, post-doctoral research associate at the Center for Limnology at UW-Madison, to create several prototypes designed to catch only spiny water fleas without harming beneficial zooplankton or fish.

More than 233,000 students from more than 80 countries are participating in First Lego League (FLL) this year. FLL is a robotics program designed to get children excited about science and technology. Teams have to create a solution to problems faced by today's scientists. Teams must also build and program a robot to solve missions on an obstacle course. They will present their solution and compete in the robot matches at regional tournaments. Qualifying teams move on to sectional, state and global tournaments.

For more information, please visit the BadgerBOTS website.