The Tehachapi Girl Scouts Lego Robotics Team, Koding Koalas, Team 55502 would like to thank all of the mentors who helped them in their inaugural year with the FIRST LEGO League.
The Koding Koalas compete in the Duncan Dynamic Qualifier in the California Central Valley FLL Regional on December 3. The team won first place for the Innovation Award and was given the opportunity to advance to the Central Valley FLL Championship Game on December 17th.
As a junior team with freshman coaches, the Koding Koalas are made up of two Girl Scouts – Harper Mitchell and Serena Thornburg – who are both in fifth grade. They are coached by Nicholas Aldava and Nina Thornberg and mentored by former Lego Robotics trainers Joanne and Regan Wolfe.
This year’s FIRST LEGO League theme was very supportive. Harper and Serena learn about the issues and challenges we face today with energy use and supply. The team is grateful for the opportunity to present with local professional experts, including Marilyn White, Community Services Area Director for Golden Hills, Jay Schlosser, Development Services Director for the City of Tehachapi, Erica Schlosser, Local Maths Teacher, and Joanne and Regan Wolf, former Lego robotics instructors. , and Vicky and Doug Hoffman, smartphone experts and aerospace engineers.
Special thanks to Valley Oaks Charter School for providing space for the meetings.
The Koding Koalas Girl Scouts gain real-world problem-solving experience through a guided, fun and hands-on global robotics programme. They worked hard for months to learn how to build and program a LEGO robot that would navigate tasks in a robot toy. The team also completed a group project challenge where they had to define a problem, develop a creative and well-thought-out solution, and effectively communicate their results to the competition judges and the community.
After exploring three different potential issues, the team decided to focus on the challenge of charging smartphones with Clear Solar, a clear screen covering that can facilitate solar charging. The team researched the development of pure solar cells and built a prototype using conductive glass, nano-titanium oxide, and blueberry juice to capture solar energy and convert it into electricity. On awarding the team first place in the Innovation Project Award, the judges said: “Our innovation project award winning team presented a clear solution. Their cool charging technology could be the future of phone charging. These bears usually eat eucalyptus leaves, but for this project, Prefer raspberries.”
The girls and the coaches agreed that winning an award was not their primary goal.
The FIRST LEGO League was founded in 1998 to engage students through fun and meaningful discovery in science and technology. FLL emphasizes a collaborative environment where teams help each other generate ideas, solve problems, overcome obstacles, and gain confidence in their ability to use technology.
Coach Nicholas Aldava, a student at Valley Oaks Charter School, said, “10 years ago, I was in my first FLL qualifier. It was crazy then and it’s still crazy. It’s great to see kids today doing what I did 10 years ago. FLL is one of The best things have ever happened to me and I’ve always wanted to come back as a coach. Being able to coach and give back to the FLL community has been amazing.”
For more information about the program, visit firstlegoleague.org.
Nina Thornburg is a parent, coach, and leader of the Girl Scouts team.
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