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Higganum Lego Robotics Team to Participate in Upcoming Farmington Expo

Submitted by Andrei Abarientos.

Higganum LEGO robotics team The Programming Platypi (48059) are participating in an upcoming Farmington Expo after months of hard work and dedication. They are run by Xavier robotics team The FullMetal Falcons and their outreach program, which is dedicated to spreading STEM, engineering, and the FIRST Robotics program.

What exactly is FIRST? FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit robotics program founded by engineers Dean Kamen and Dr. Woodie Flowers. There are four levels of FIRST, catering to kids from elementary to high school age. In each of these, kids learn skills such as engineering and programming, but also teamwork and the FIRST core values (Discovery, Inclusion, Innovation, Teamwork, Impact, and Fun). At the center of all these core values is Gracious Professionalism, coined by Dr. Woodie Flowers. As Woodie himself put it, gracious professionalism is “…competition for the sake not of destroying one another, but for the sake of bettering and improving both competitors as a result of the competition.” The FullMetal Falcons compete at the high-school level, FIRST Robotics Competition or FRC, while Higganum’s Programming Platypi competes in middle-school program FIRST LEGO League, or FLL.

This is not the first time that Xavier has worked in the Haddam-Killingworth area. They have also started an FLL Jr team for elementary schoolers in Burr Elementary school. You may have come across their booth in the Durham Fair, or perhaps attended one of their summer camps. Everywhere they go, they bring education of STEM and teamwork skills with them.

In FLL, there are three portions: the research project, the robot game, and the core values. For their research project, the Platypi have created the outline for a miniature golf course in Higganum, finding the costs and planning out the layout. Their robot is made with a LEGO Mindstorms kit, coded with EV3 programming, a drag-and-drop program that is easy to learn but hard to master. For their core values, they have focused on practicing them throughout their meetings and planned a presentation that discusses how they exemplify the core values in the team.

They are slated to attend the Farmington Expo. Though this year, as a first-year team, is simply a learning experience, the team expects to go to an actual qualifying competition and even possibly attend the worldwide competition that takes place in Detroit. For now, they are happy learning about the wonders that robotics can offer. If you would like to attend and support the team, the expo will be on January 26, 2o20 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Photos by Andrei Abarientos and Marcelo Burno.


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