The robots were off to hopefully accomplish their required tasks and earn their teams points, as area students from northeastern Ohio competed at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League regional tournament held Dec. 17 at Girard High School.
The Lordstown Bot Kickers team finished first and are regional champions.
Students in grades fourth to ninth in 22 school districts competed locally at the regional with winners moving to the districts at Akron University in January.
Other area schools included Badger, Champion, Girard, Lakeview and Liberty, along with teams from the Cleveland area.
Judy Barber, an adviser for the robotics team at Girard High School, said the theme this year for the Lego League was food safety.
The students have to accomplish a series of tasks with the robot within a certain time period to earn points.
In addition to getting their robots to complete a set of tasks, there is also a two-minute presentation by teams to share knowledge on food safety.
Students gained knowledge about food being bacteria free and how pollution often is the cause of the bacteria.
The Girard Lego Lizards is made up of 10 seventh- and eighth-grade students with their adviser, teacher Jennifer Nicholas. Nicholas has been coach for six years.
Nicholas said students had to accomplish a series of tasks with the robot within a certain time period to earn points at the competition. Students have been practicing with the robot to get it to maneuver in certain directions.
Kada Williams, eighth grader, said the most challenging was the time constraints to have the robot complete the tasks.
"There was a lot to do in the two minutes. We all tried to time the robot to do something in so many seconds," she said.
Aaron Scott, eighth grader, said trying to get the robot to do everything in two minutes was hard at times.
Anthony Bonamase, a seventh grader, said the team excelled in many parts of the competition and will work at improving other areas for the next competition.
"There are a couple of things we need to improve upon but all together it when pretty well," he said.
Barber noted that many of the elementary age and middle school students usually continue with robotics at the high school level.
"About 30 to 35 percent of my high school students took part in the Lego program when they were in junior high. It really helps them be more prepared for the robotics program at the high school level,'' Barber said.
Weeks of preparation by teams of students ages 9 to 14 culminated at the Warren G. Harding Regional, where 24 Northeast Ohio FLL teams demonstrated their problem-solving skills, creativity, teamwork and professionalism in early December. Top performers at both events will advance to the University of Akron Ohio FLL District Tournament on Jan. 14 and 15.
In addition to robot performance, teams are evaluated in the categories of research project presentation, robot design and programming, and core values. Trophies are awarded for top performers in each category. The highest honor at each competition - the Champion's Award - is awarded to the team that demonstrates the best all-around performance.
Schools interested in starting a FIRST Lego League team can call Gail at 330-219-7833 or Travis Hoffman at 330-219-7848.