Two teams advance to FLL state

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Two teams of Glacier Creek students fared very well at the First League League sectional at Marshall Middle School on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Talon of the Wyvern and Two teams and Epsilon SaberBOTz were two of 18 teams out of 49 competing at sectionals to advance to FLL state, which will be held Feb. 25 in Janesville.

FLL is a worldwide robotics competition for students in grades 4-8 that emphasizes engineering and teamwork!  FLL has 3 tournaments levels: regionals, sectionals and state.  Teams create and program robots that must autonomously (without any help) perform many challenging missions.

Talon of the Wyvern, which had the highest score of any team in the state at regionals, placed in the top five at sectionals. They also won the mechanical design award. Team members include Arianna Larsen, Thomas Kurr, Cara Davis, Michelle Roelke, Timothy Manning and Olivia Van Dyke. The team mentor is Veronica Kurr, a former Glacier Creek student who is now a junior at MHS.

Epsilon SaberBOTz received the innovative solution award, which recognizes a team’s solution that is exceptionally well-considered and creative, with good potential to solve the problem researched. The team was nominated for three other awards as well.   

Team Epsilon SaberBOTz is comprised of Varun Gupta, Eric Ma, Clay Kreimeier and 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.

The team 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% 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 children from more than 80 countries are participating in First Lego League this year. 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.

BadgerBOTS Robotics Corporation, 7615 Discovery Drive, Middleton is a non-profit educational organization. For more information, please visit the BadgerBOTS website.