ZBOTS, a Fort Wayne FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League (FLL) team coached by Kitty and Greg Bellis, was one of 63 robotics teams worldwide that competed May 1-3, 2008, in the first-ever High Tech Kids FIRST LEGO® League International Open at the University of Minnesota. The ZBOTS advanced from a qualifying tournament at Science Central and then won the top spot at the ITT / IPFW FIRST LEGO® League Indiana Championship Tournament at IPFW on December 8, 2007, where they received perfect scores on all three of their robot performance rounds. At the FLL International Open the ZBOTS reached the “Final Four” and went on to place third in the Robot Performance category.
The competition theme was “renewable energy.” Students ages 9 through 14 were challenged to build small robots from a parts kit including LEGO® pieces and elements such as sensors, motors, and gears in order to demonstrate energy management and conservation. Robots competed on a 4’x8’ tabletop playing field, simulating tasks such as placing solar panels on a roof, moving wind turbines, building a hydro-dam, and planting trees. The students competed as an individual team and as part of international alliances. This year’s competitions included more than 10,000 teams from 38 countries.
In addition to the performance rounds, students were judged on their research project, technical quality, and teamwork. The ZBOTS’ project audited Queen of Angels School and made recommendations for improving energy efficiency in the building.
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