Lego Crusaders advance to ET Championship

The Lego Crusaders of St. Mary School in Oak Ridge competed with 27 other Lego teams Dec. 3 to qualify to advance to the East Tennessee Championship.

The annual Lego Challenge requires participants to identify and research a real-world problem, develop and implement a solution, and communicate their results to a panel of judges.

Ethan Hall works to program the robot for competition.

Additionally, the teams are required to design, build, and program a robot using Lego Mindstorms to compete on a table-top playing field. The teams are judged based on their problem/solution, robot design, adherence to the Lego Core Values, and performance on the challenge field.

The theme for this year’s Lego Challenge was “Animal Allies.” Teams were required to identify a problem that occurs when people and animals interact. The St. Mary Lego Crusaders created a website (www.AnimalFAQsNow) to answer questions and present information about close encounters with three threatened species of reptiles found in East Tennessee.

The team received third place in the Robot Design competition and finished 14th overall in the table-top playing field competition. The Crusaders advanced to the East Tennessee Championship to be held at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville on Feb. 11.

The St. Mary team members are Mateo Gorrondona, Ryan Rearden, Miko Zolnierczuk, and Ethan Hall. The team is coached by Thane Gorrondona with Piotr Zolnierczuk serving as a mentor and Denise Miller as the faculty sponsor.

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