The 2010 Florida Lego League (FLL) season for Hillsborough County kicked into high-gear as 16 teams from across Tampa bay engaged in a series of challenges geared to sharpen the understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics using a robotic platform. This one-day robotics tournament was held in December at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, and was made possible through a partnership between FLATE, HCC-Brandon, TechPlayZone and various other community sponsors like Bright House Networks and Circa You.
Dr. Carlos Soto, president of HCC-Brandon said he was “pleased to host a competition that gives young people first-hand knowledge about robotics, and encourages them to engage in science, technology, and research”. Smart Moves—the theme for the 2009-2010 challenges –encouraged teams to explore existing problems regarding various modes of transportation in their communities. Each team was responsible for identifying a transportation problem and providing an innovative solution based on research conducted by the teams. Teams were also assigned to build a robot that could complete as many missions as possible in a head-to-head round, lasting 2.5 minutes.
The activities sharpened teamwork, prowess in technical design, presentation skills, encouraged STEM course enrollment through robotic activities , and served as an extension of the robotics camps hosted by FLATE every summer. It was also an effective mechanism in showcasing the “fun” side of science, mathematics and technology. Desh Bagley, founder and CEO TechPlayzone—a science and technology center located in Riverview, FL that offers workshops in robotics, video game creation and animation—said the competition served as a platform for teaching the applicability of robotics in everyday situations. “The best part of the competition was how the various entities of our community came together to make the event possible” Bagley said.
For more information about FIRST Lego League and the Suncoast FLL Tournament at HCC-Brandon, visit http://www.suncoastfl.org/. For information about TechPlayzone's robotics program for young people call (813) 684-7329, or visit www.techplayzone.com/techplay. To learn more about FLATE at HCC, visit http://www.fl-ate.org/.
Snapshot of participants, winners and organizers at the FLL competition in HCC-Brandon