Westford LEGO Robotics Club Advances to the National Semifinals

ABC 22/Fox 44 Feature

WESTFORD, Vt. – The Periodic Pandas, a school team from Westford, was one of 20 semifinalists selected from entries from 30 countries to advance to the Seventh Annual FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award. The team from Westford was chosen for their outstanding Project innovative solution, BeeFinder.org, that demonstrated originality while having the potential to add significant value in the world. The team will travel to Washington, D.C. from June 18-20 to present their innovation to expert judges.

All semifinalists will participate in a two day, hands-on innovation event at the Kellogg Conference Center, which culminates in the awarding of the top prize of $20,000 to continue work on their inventions, while two runners-up will take home $5,000 each.

The team, composed of 12 members in grades three through eight, chose to focus their project work on creating a location aware software solution to identify and develop native bee habitat. Their solution uses open data (satellite imagery, GIS maps, etc.) to identify the necessary habitat conditions to promote thriving native bee populations, and make that data actionable for homeowners all the way up to regional or national policy makers. The team’s goal is to reverse the trend of declining pollinator population and its impact on our global food supply.

The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award demonstrates that FIRST LEGO League teams emerge from the program as better visionaries and divergent thinkers – and yes, as actual inventors. Past winning teams have focused on helping people and changing lives from a device that allowed a toddler with a hand difference to learn to write, to a chemical process to change Styrofoam to activated carbon for filtration, to a touch-based app allowing blind children to learn braille unassisted. The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation teams are changing the world, one invention at a time.

FIRST LEGO League is an international program for 9 to 16 year-old children (ages vary by country) which was created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology, and teach them valuable career and life skills. Children work alongside adult Mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project.

Innovators and inventors play a critical role in growing our economy and improving our quality of life. The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award presented is designed to encourage and assist teams with the further development of their original and important ideas for solving global issues. Inventions under consideration in the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Semifinals epitomize innovative thinking and the FIRST mantra More than RobotsSM.