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Robotics Teams Qualify for Championship Tournament

The district’s FLL Challenge Teams recently competed in a virtual Hudson Valley Qualifying Tournament.   The district fielded five For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League Challenge (FLL) teams for the 2020-2021 season thanks to the generous donations of the district’s corporate sponsors. Teams of up to ten 4th, 5th and 6th graders from throughout the district’s Elementary and Middle Schools have been meeting virtually since October. 

This year's FIRST FLL challenge, RePLAY, required students to focus on how and where they can help people be more active.  The challenge required students to design a LEGO robot that was programmed to operate independently on the competition table and accomplish several design and construction related tasks. The teams were judged based on the robot’s performance, robot design, core values and innovation project.   

Ballston Spa’s teams Motors in Action and Golden Creators won awards and will be moving on to the Hudson Valley Championship Tournament on March 27, 2021.    Motors in Action earned the Core Values Award and the Golden Creators won the Robot Design Award.  BSHS alumna Lauren Brady who helped mentor all five teams, as well as the High School’s Team 3044, was selected for the Coach/Mentor Award at the tournament for best exemplifying the FIRST Core Values in her mentoring, her leadership and guidance. 

Ballston Spa High School FRC students served as mentors for the younger teams and assisted the coaches.   The FLL season looked different for the FLL teams this year compared to usual.  Since the teams were meeting virtually this year, the students designed sketches of the attachments they would add to the robot as well as the code for each mission.  These were shared electronically with the coaches who tried to make the attachment based on the sketch, downloaded the students’ code and  tested the ideas using a webcam to show the performance during meetings so the students could identify what  adjustments they would need to make.  Ideas were evaluated by the teams using polls during the virtual meetings and teams collaborated on shared documents to create their presentations for the judges.

The district’s 2020-21 Robotics initiative is possible based on the support from the Ballston Spa National Bank and CSArch to fund participation in the annual US FIRST Robotics competition. Please visit the team’s website at https:// frcteam3044.team/ or the FIRST Robotics website at https:// firstinspires.org for more details of this year’s program. Additional information is also available by contacting Ballston Spa K-12 Science Coordinator Diane Irwin, dirwin@bscsd.org, or at the Ballston Spa High School by calling 884-7150.

FLL Teams Qualify for Tournament

Ballston Spa Teams Compete at Championship Tournament - Saratoga TODAY