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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

LEGO League Champions: Moyer Students Take Home First Place Win

The Moyer Elementary Metrotech Team shows off certificates and one of their trophies. They are flanked by coaches Veronica Mickleson (l) and Joey Hood (r)

By Robin Gee

The Moyer Elementary Metrotech Team took home first place in state for Strategy and Innovation at the First® LEGO® League Championship Tournament held at Northern Kentucky University in February.

The First® LEGO® League Championship is a statewide tournament for students age 9 to 14. The competition offers them an opportunity to learn and engage in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math subjects, commonly known as STEM.

Students participate in challenges in four areas: building a robot, programming and taking the robot through missions in a timed tournament, teamwork and core values and a special challenge. This year’s challenge theme was "City Shaper" and the teams were asked to identify a problem for cities, research the problem and present a creative solution to that problem.

The Moyer team identified crosswalk safety as their city challenge. Their solution involved installation of piezoelectric panels level to the ground. The panels would collect energy generated by cars driving over the panels pushing them down. The energy could be stored for later use for powering crossing barriers and lights.

The students even figured out how to pay for the panels, which would cost about $50,000 to install. Money would come initially through a gas tax but over time the panels would pay for themselves through the energy saved.

Coach Joey Hood explained the students took home two regional trophies in addition to their state win. One was a judges’ award for Best Overall Approach. The team also won a second-place award for the robot challenge.

"It was awesome watching how they come together," explained Hood. "There are mechanics on the team. There are programmers. We actually had to change the design of the robot a little bit so Abe, our pilot, could see over the table...It was an absolute blast." 

The team had only two minutes and 30 seconds to run their robot through its tasks, Hood noted.

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Superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser thanked the team and coaches Hood and Veronica Mickelson. "Fort Thomas now has 37 robotics teams, including 11 First® LEGO® League. We have our high school team, one of only two in northern Kentucky, and we have 23 or 24 First® LEGO® League Junior teams," she said. 

"This is far and away most of any district in Kentucky...and it's only because we have great volunteers, coaches and parents. So thank you to them as well."

Students on the team are Emma Hood, Robby Lutz, Nathan Mickelson, Abe Morel, Cole Noah, Alex Sharpe and Wren Twehues.

Cheser noted that, according to Brandeis University, students who stay in LEGO® League through eighth or ninth grade have an 87 percent chance of going into STEM fields.

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