Lego FIRST Long Island Championship

Lego FIRST Long Island Championship
Posted on 03/11/2020

The excitement was palpable as teams of middle school students from across Nassau and Suffolk counties competed in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Long Island Championship at Longwood High School on Sunday, March 1st. Hicksville Middle School qualified its three teams - the “Meteorites,” “Meteorites Squared,” and the “Meteorites Cubed” – to compete at this year’s finals. The teams, made up of sixth, seventh and eighth graders under the coaching of teachers Cathy Temps and Carol Anne Brucato, competed in the four categories. The categories are judged by the FLL judges: “Innovation Project,” Robot Design,” “Core Values,” and the teams’ receive an “Overall Score” after the season is completed. This year’s FLL theme was “City Shapers.” The Innovation Project the teams were required to identify a problem in their city, and find a solution to make a better place for tomorrow.

Ms. Temps and Ms. Brucato have been coaching the middle school teams since the program began in the 2015-2016 school year. “Every year we have gone to the Championship with at least one or two teams. But this year, all three of our teams advanced to the Championship.”

For the robot portion of the competition, two team members were designated to run a timed, preset course on a competition table with the robot that they built using Legos. The field required the teams’ robot to complete several tasks within a two and a half-minute timeframe, which allowed the team to gain points along the way. The challenge required the teams to develop different attachments for their robot, such as arms and mechanisms needed to pick up, transport, and deliver elements to various locations on the field.

For the “Core Values” section, participants were required to create a trifold poster explaining how the team followed the “Core Values” during the season. In the “Core Values” room, the judges assigned the students a task to work on together. The judges scored the team on how well they collaborated.

For the “Innovation Project” portion, the teams identified a problem under this year’s theme. Our teams built and presented a model in front of the judges, with each student taking a turn to speak. The judges also asked questions of the team members during their scheduled presentation time.

HMS’s Meteorites won the Project Innovation Award. Their idea identified the all-to-familiar LIRR gap between the train platform and train as their entry into this year’s competition, stating:

“People with disabilities face many problems in their daily life. Specifically, wheelchair users have accessibility problems. They have a hard time crossing the gap between the train and the platform. This also affects people with strollers, children, luggage, and other items. Since 1995, thousands of gap incidents, including deaths have occurred on the LIRR. This is the problem we decided to tackle. Our solution, known as SMART (Safe Mechanical Automated Ramps for Trains), is a ramp that will extend out from the train. A pneumatic system will operate the ramp. Before the doors open, the ramp will come out from the train to fill the required length of the gap. After the doors close, the ramp will go back into its compartment, and the train will leave the station.”

Team Meteorites Squared, won the Project Presentation Award with their entry focused on landfills:

“The problem that we want to solve is the overflowing landfills. We can reduce the amount of garbage that goes into landfills by sorting more of the recycle materials and compost material out of the garbage. We designed TC3, a self-sorting trash can. You put the garbage in the can and it will sort it out between trash, compost and recyclables. This will cause less compost and recycle materials going into landfills.”

And HMS’s third team, Meteorites Cubed, presented a pen refilling station for their recycling project:

“Our project is about saving our local environment both land and sea by reducing plastic waste by recycling one of the most commonly used pieces of technology in the world PENS!! With our project, we will be able to refill plastic pens and both save our community and world environment. Our project is called the pen refilling station in short (PRS).”

The competition was very well attended by Hicksville parents who were supporting their children at the hours-long event. Mrs. Seemangal, mother of Dylan, an eighth grader, who competed on the Meteorites Squared team commented, “This competition provides a great opportunity for the students to learn to work on a team – it builds good sportsmanship and team-building – they love Legos!” Mrs. Cindy Hudson, mother of Chris, a seventh grader also on Meteorites Squared explained, “Each child has different strengths, and there is a place for them on the team.”

Mrs. Reshma Kamath, mother of eight grader Nikki on the Meteorites team, stated, “The biggest challenge for the students is time – our teams begin their work in the fall, some other private teams start their work in the summer. They need to create their posters, models, and complete all the programming – there’s a lot to do.” 

“To see the progress they make and the smiles on their faces is our reward,” said Mrs. Rhonda Nardin, mother of Nathan, an eighth grader on the Meteorites Cubed team. Mr. Leszek Parciak, father of Victor, an eighth grader on the team, said, “We’re so proud about everything offered at the middle school. Victor stays an extra two or three hours afterschool on different activities. Thank you to Mrs. Jorisch for providing so many opportunities and being such a great role model.”

The teams’ hard work and dedication really did show during the competition. They were poised, respectful, and focused – Hicksville should be very proud of these young engineers and problem-solvers extraordinaire!

Congratulations to HMS’s three amazing FIRST Lego League team members:

Meteorites: Krishiv Bulsara, Zara Faisal, Nikki Kamath, Aashritha Kilambi, Elisha Mirza, Kaylee Palermo, Ricky Raval, Rithika Selvaraj, Saanvi Sharma, and Christian Triston.

Meteorites Squared: Bachhal Birinder, Daniel Chen, Karan Doshi, Chris Hudson, Aadil Mahmood, Bilal Mahmood, Dylan Seemangal, Japneet Singh, and Kailash Thayavally.

Meteorites Cubed:  Raven Canzoneri, Evan Chun, Saivamsi Nanugonda, Sruthi Nanugonda, Nathan Nardin, Divjot Nayyar, Victor Parciak, Cristian Parlog, Aarav Walia, and Jia Walia.

LEgo Robotics

It was intense as the countdown clock ticked off the seconds when the Meteorites Squared team was getting ready for the Robot Performance part of the competition.

LEgo Robotics

Hicksville Middle School’s Meteorites and their supportive parents and siblings took a moment to take a photo with Coach Ms. Cathy Temps (front row, far right)

LEgo Robotics

In between tasks on the robot performance table, members of HMS’s Meteorites Cubed made adjustments to their robot.

LEgo Robotics

The Meteorites tracked its progress as their autonomous robot navigated a section of the course while the rest of the team anxiously looked on.