Alaska Students Shine At LEGO Robotics Meet
Teams of students from Nome and Anchorage traveled to Walla Walla College in April to participate in the college-sponsored LEGO Robotics regional competition. However, the five-member team representing Nome’s one-room Adventist school never expected to come home with the coveted Director’s Award. When the announcement was made that team Iiggestas, Siberian Upik for miner (literally digger), shared first place with the Technic Tyrants, a team from Oregon, they were ecstatic. "They called our name. I was so surprised. I was so happy that we won! I just kept smiling and holding up the trophy," said Melanie Stroud, Nome's teacher and robotics sponsor.
For the project, the students built and programmed a robot, as well as researched a topic and presented the findings. The theme was "Ocean Odyssey" so the teams were to research an activity or industry that used the ocean’s resources. Being from Nome, which has a rich history in gold mining, team Iiggestas chose to focus their research on underwater gold mining.
“This has been a wonderful learning experience for these young people,” said Stroud. “They started out knowing very little about robotics and even LEGOs, and now they have a greater understanding of programming, problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork.”