The competition challenges a team of students to build a robot that can accomplish certain goals. Those robots compete in a tabletop competition to complete certain tasks for points. The competition also had a presentation portion and other team-building activities that help the teams accumulate points.
This year’s competition theme was Nature’s Fury, where the students had to come up with an idea to deal with the impact of a natural disaster. The team’s coach, SEMS Assistant Principal John Randolph, said the students came up with the idea of having radio-frequency identification bracelets available for students to put on whenever the students have to go into their safety mode because of a storm. The group felt that would shorten rescue time and assist first responders in rescue and recovery efforts if the school was destroyed by a tornado.
The FLL team consists of students, ages 9 to 14, who apply to work with the program. These students work as a team on all areas of the competition, which Randolph believes is as important a lesson as the actual technical aspects they learn.
“They are introduced to working with technology, problem solving and how to work together as a team,” he said. “They learn that working together means not bickering or fussing with each other.”
The school also had a Junior FLL team this year, for students ages 6 to 9. These students made a presentation at the competition, but did not build a competition robot. They will also compete at state in January.
Sumiton’s team was sponsored by David’s Pharmacy, Haynes Downward and Zaxby’s this year. Without them, Randolph said, it wouldn’t have been possible for the students to compete.
“The support of the community and working together with the sponsors and PTO has been good,” Randolph said.