The students of Aspen Middle School head to the Lego Robotics State Championship

The students of Aspen Middle School head to the Lego Robotics State Championship

The AMS Lego Robotics teams are heading to the state championship in Denver.
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Their team name may be the Robot Rookies, but the prep students in Aspen are no novices when it comes to Lego Robotics. The five members of the Robot Rookies are heading to the First Lego League Challenge Colorado State Championship on December 10 for the second year in a row.

The Robot Rookies—a team made up of Hayden Bailey, Max Carney, Spencer Ward, Wyatt Weins, and Bennett Zilberman—placed second in the competition last year, when they were actually rookies.

Students from all teams shared their enthusiasm for coding and making robots work.

“My favorite part was seeing the robot in action for the first time. We just finished coding it, and it was the best part of the day,” Hayden said.

White said his team is hopeful of a first place finish this year, after they finished second in 2021.

Perhaps the prospect of student travel is as exciting as qualifying for a state competition. TuxBots, AIR and Electric Blitz, three other teams from Aspen Middle School, will join the Robot Rookies in CU Denver for statewide competition, where they will take on robotics teams from across the state.

The Robot Rookies are returning to the state tournament and are looking to win first place.
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“I’m excited to see other teams,” said Bennett.

The competition goes beyond bot design and coding. In fact, the team that finished 39th out of 45 in the robotics competition finished first in the heats. During the robot competition, students get three 2.5-minute sessions to complete 13 tasks. They are scored in their best round, and this makes up only a quarter of their total score.

The competition always comes with a theme, this year it’s Power Trips Improvement. Students research the problem and talk to experts to come up with an innovative project independent of the robot design.

The other part of their score is based on the 30-minute presentation the students give to the judges at the start of the day. They talk about their robot design and innovation project and are judged on how they communicate with each other and how they talk interactively about the robot and their project.

TuxBots member Marlo Lewis described feeling excited when they found out they were going to say.

“When we were getting awards, we looked at the boards and saw we were going to announce. All our work paid off,” she said.

In the playoffs, Robot Rookies took first place in the robot game, and AIR received the Jury Prize for Innovative Engineering for their project. Team 7908, which did not qualify for state, took second place for their project design, and Electric Blitz and TuxBots won qualification awards.

The Aspen Middle School First Lego League Robotics Club is supported by the Aspen Education Foundation and includes students from grades 5-8. This year, the program was before and after school, which allowed a few non-AMS kids to participate. During the weeks leading up to the competition, students meet daily to work on their projects.

Many students agreed that the hardest part was working with a team. They took the opportunity to share their favorite parts, some of which was coding the bot, seeing their team names on the state plate and going to another tournament, where each team would have a chance to place.

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