FIRST LEGO League 2010 Body Forward
Public Event
Morrow Library
December 4, 2010

Issac Fry, Micah Lewis, Philip Taylor, Ethan Fry, and Drew Lewis of Eaglesnest Robotics pose for a photo with their robot named "Data Bot" after winning the robotics competition in Morrow Library at Marshall University on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Huntington.

Beverly Hills Biomedical Engineers

Culloden Cats


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- There's nothing like the thrill of robotic competition.

At least, that was the case for the students at the FIRST LEGO League Robotic event, sponsored by the Nick J. Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute, Saturday at Morrow Library on Marshall University's campus.

Nearly 200 students, parents and enthusiasts packed into the library for the event, which was the last of its kind before the State FIRST LEGO League state competition at Wheeling Jesuit University on Saturday, Dec. 11.

"This was really a dress rehearsal for the big show next weekend, but more importantly, they get real world skills that involve getting things done and not just seeing it be done for them," said Linda Hamilton of Marshall University's Mathematics Department and the Rahall Transportation Institute. "There were a lot of people in the hallways preparing while other teams were presenting and other teams were competing against one another. It was a wild and good time."

The event, titled the 2010 Body Forward Challenge, required the participants, between nine- and 14 years old, to "explore the world of biomedical engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives."

Competitors used biomedical engineering to focus on any body part, virus, disease, or injury one can think of and provide some sort of solution for it. Most of the teams spent months working on the project, reading books and visiting with doctors and Marshall professors and students.

"There are adults who are effectively giving their time to help these kids," Hamilton said. "We want kids to think math and science are important, but we also have the opportunity to show them what they can become with these skills when they become adults."

At the competition, the competitors have a series of tasks to complete with their robots, and they present their findings to a judge and other competitors.

"They provide these unique solutions that they really have to go after and research, and they can even pursue patents," Hamilton said. "That's what's most impressive. Here are these nine- and 14-year-old kids who have ideas that are so innovative they can get a U.S. Patent for them."

While the ideas and the robotic possibilities draw the students in, it's the CORE values that make it easy for their parents to support the league.

Sean Lewis' children are home schooled, and he said the FIRST LEGO League fits the bill when it comes to everything he's looking for in extracurricular activities for his kids.

"I love the CORE values. It's a set of guidelines for the kids, it supports the notion of gracious professionalism, and we love that," Lewis said. "It's all about learning and not about winning. They get to go out and talk to doctors about these things and investigate their topic. They do compete, but, mostly, they learned."

Lewis' children are part of the Eaglesnest Robotics team, which walked away from the event with several awards. The team focused on retinis pigmentosa, an eye disease that can eventually lead to blindness. They came up with a nanotechnical optical replacement system they called "Fly Eye."

"I felt very proud of myself for making something like that," Micha Lewis, 11, said. "I would say it's very educational, and it's kind of like a sport except it's with a robot and not a ball."

While the competitors might not have been aware of the life lessons in the moment, Sean Lewis said he expected each of the competitors could accomplish anything they set their minds to after their experience in the competition.

"In sports, their mentors are these famous athletes, but here, the mentors are doctors and engineers," he said. "It's like the satisfaction of scoring a touchdown, but they also take away these skills that can help them change the world."

Robotic competition provides students with real world skills

 Mark Webb/The Herald-Dispatch
December 03, 2010 @ 09:48 PM


The Beverly Hills Biomedical Engineers, which includes middle school students James Holley, John Holbrook and Yazan Khader, visited Cabell Huntington Hospital to display their knowledge of robotics and gain hands on experience with high-tech equipment used by doctors Ali Oliashirazi and James Jensen.
Link to Visit Pictures


LEGO Links of Linda Hamilton
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