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Marysville Lego team makes it to state
MARYSVILLE — The Marysville-based “Lego Miners” have been entering Lego robotics competitions for the past five years, but this year marked the team’s first trip to the statewide competition.
Aidan Tapusoa and Kelsey, Orion and Dansil Green were the young Lego robot-builders who won against 14 other teams in the Dec. 4 regional competition of the First Lego League held in Marysville, and became one of 39 teams to compete in the Dec. 11 statewide competition of the First Lego League held in Spanaway, with help from coach Julie Tapusoa.
“Our dad likes Legos a lot,” said Dansil Green, 13, who’s been a member of the team for all five years of its existence. “He even has his own Lego room, so we thought it’d be fun to have our own Lego robotics team.”
Since the eligibility period is ages 9-13 to compete in the First Lego League, this could be Dansil’s last year, unless the rules get revised. On the other end of the spectrum, her younger brother Orion, 9, competed for the first time this year and took pride in his first year earning him his first award with the team.
The Lego Miners not only won the regional competition, which was a biomedical-themed obstacle course, but their robot also received a best design award at regionals.
“The kids have to program their Lego robots to do missions on a four-foot by eight-foot table,” Julie Tapusoa said. “With the biomedical theme this year, the robot had to do things like set simulated broken bones, pick up a syringe and open up a ‘brain’ to show the nervous system. There were 15 possible missions, each with different point values. The Lego Miners completed six of those missions, scoring 145 points.”
The Lego Miners also opted to do a presentation on a biomedical-related research topic.
“We chose toe jam, because it relates to the body,” laughed Kelsey Green, 11.
“We proposed a chemical that would get rid of the skin oils that lead to foot bacteria,” Dansil Green said. “We thought that the bacteria and sock lint that combine to form toe jam could be scraped off by nanobots.”
In the midst of such whimsical exercises, Julie Tapusoa emphasized that the First Lego League’s core values teach participating students how to work together as teams for everyone’s mutual enrichment, how to compete in friendly and professional ways, and how to value what they might discover more than what they might win.
Although the Lego Miners placed 25th out of the 39 teams at state, these lessons seem to have had an impact on their outlook.
“My favorite part of the competition was seeing all the other robots and who got the awards,” said Aidan Tapusoa, 10.
“I liked getting ideas from other teams to help us do better next year,” Kelsey Green said. “It was so much fun.”