Story by Sonja Bailes, Public Relations Liasion for Bossier Parish Schools
In the world of robotics, Benton Middle School scored big. Really big.
The weekend of December 6, BMS traveled to New Orleans with 12 members of the seventh and eighth grade robotics teams to compete in the 2014 First Lego League (FLL) Louisiana Robotics State Championship. The Tigers earned berths in the competition after both teams placed in a November robotics contest at Sci-Port, earning the distinction as state qualifiers.
The theme of the championship was 2014 FLL World Class Challenge, in which Benton Middle Robotics teacher Bradley TerHaar said the seventh grade team did a phenomenal job, placing 13th in the state in the Robot Mission category.
The eighth grade team’s performance was amazing. The team received the first place trophy and was crowned champions in the Core Values category which, as TerHaar explains, is the cornerstone of the FLL program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.
Members of Benton Middle’s winning team are Gannon Matlock, Ben Montgomery, Chandler Burns, Thomas Payne and Hunter Barnes.
The FLL robotics program is geared for nine to 14-year-olds. In the annual challenge, teams of up to 10 children program a LEGO MINDSTORMS autonomous robot to score points on a thematic playing surface. Teams must also create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project, incorporating three elements; the Robot Game, Project and FLL Core Values.
In the Sci-Port competition, each of Benton Middle’s teams won one of the four events. The seventh grade team claimed the title of Grand Champion of Northwest Louisiana.