It was August 2013 when the Riverdale Heights Elementary robotics team were called to duty.
Their mission: construct a robot that could withstand the commanding force of a natural disaster. There’s just one caveat; the robot must be assembled from Legos.
The robot, an “EV-3”, has seen success. Named Firebolt six, it’s placed in the top tier in local and national competitions. Recently, the six students and their instructor Theresa Barber were invited to participate in the American Open Championship, located at Lego Land in San Diego, California.
“Oh my gosh I was so excited,” exclaimed 6th grader Preksha Kedilaya. “I was jumping up and down when I found out.”
Their accolades didn’t come easy, or quick. They meet at least once a week after school.
“So this is what we practice on,” said Theresa Barber, revealing a rectangular table covered in Legos.
The Riverdale Robotics team consists of six 5th and 6th grade students. The school’s team competes in the First Lego League, an international organization that consists of thousands of teams in the United States, Mexico, Canada and South Korea.
Students build a robot out of Legos and program it to complete certain missions on the playing board that’s provided by the league.
There are multiple ways to complete a mission. Depending on the strategy students formulate, some missions are worth more points than others.
Students have to act quick. They only have two and a half minutes to complete their missions and earn as many points as possible. The higher the points the better.
While they finished just 52nd out of 76 teams, they’ve gained something more valuable than a trophy, friendship.
The Riverdale Heights Robotics Team with WQAD Reporter Shane Simmons and Photojournalist Ryan Mathias.