Wolverines earn shot at state robotics title

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The Members of the Whiteaker Middle School robotics team accept their trophies at the First Lego League regional competition Sunday, Dec. 8. (Submitted)

The Members of the Whiteaker Middle School robotics team accept their trophies at the First Lego League regional competition Sunday, Dec. 8. (Submitted)

Whiteaker Middle School’s robotics team was a standout in the First Lego League regional competition hosted by Stephens Middle School Dec. 7 and 8.

The Wolverine team – students Brady Ellis, Adam Graneto, Jonas Honeyman, Eryne Ige, Jake McCollum, Andy Okada, Hailee Smith, and CJ Wagner -– took first in the project competition and third place overall in the ACE division. The team also received an invitation to compete in the statewide competition Jan. 18 and 19 in Hillsboro.

“We have a team that has some experienced Lego designers and some kids who have also done this tournament last year and the year before that.  The team works together quite well,” said Shep Earl, a Whiteaker teacher and the team’s coach.

Students were challenged to research natural disasters and chose a community that could be adversely impacted by one; choose a problem caused by the natural disaster that hasn’t already been solved, create an innovative solution and share it with their community. With their ideas in mind, the teams then designed and programmed a robot to help humans prepare, be safe, and rebuild due to natural disasters.  The robots had to climb over obstacles, launch a plane into flight, rescue people and pets, deliver needed supplies, raise a house and protect it from flooding and more.

“Our kids chose tsunami off the Oregon coast and came up with a design for a Survival Town Community Center that included a wave wall and clean water filtration and storage system,” Earl said.

The team earned the best presentation trophy for its use of diverse resources, comprehensive understanding of the problem, innovation in its solution, and the effectiveness of their communication while presenting to judges.

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