Pictured, front row, l to r: Kaden Wayne, Jeremey Mick and Mileya Barkley Bircher. Back row: Karen O’Neill, Sarah Cole, Destiny Meeks, Willie O’Ganian with trophy, Mason Solliday, Max O’Ganian and Paul Marganian.

Karen O’Neill
Contributing Writer
 
Green Bank Elementary-Middle School’s Robotics Team took first place in the West Virginia First Lego League Tournament December 1 and will represent all of West Virginia – and be one of the teams representing the United States – at the World Championship Festival in the spring.

 First Lego League competitions consist of three parts – designing, building and programming a robot to successfully navigate a wide variety of missions and obstacles on a table-top playing field (using the Lego EV3 platform), coming up with a real-world solution to a research problem, and showing a high level of team work and professionalism throughout all their work.   

This year’s research problem was to identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration, and design an innovative solution to that problem. The team chose human isolation on long space voyages as the problem they wished to help solve, and came up with an innovative design for a robotic pet (“Space Pet 2.0”) which can help alleviate many of the problems associated with isolation and depression in astronauts.

 The team’s robot also did very well in the tournament in its own right.  The robot – designed, built and programmed by the team members –  had the third highest score in the table top competition, earning a second team trophy for that accomplishment.

The GBEMS robotics team now has four months to prepare for the World Championship Festival.  The World Championship Festival is held in two location each year – Detroit, Michigan and Houston, Texas.  In all, more than 35,000 different First Lego League teams from 90 different countries compete to be one of approximately only 200 teams chosen to take part in the Championship.  The Championship Festival is a four day event and also includes competitions for the winning teams from the other age categories –  First Lego League Junior (ages six – 10), First Tech Challenge (grades seven – 12) and First Robotics (high school).

The GBEMS Radioactive Robotics Team consists of:  Max O’Ganian, Mason Solliday, Willie O’Ganian, Destiney Meeks, Mileya Barkley, Sarah Cole, Kaden Wayne, and Jeremey Mick, with coaches Karen O’Neil and Paul Marganian.