T.K. Stone students place first in category in LEGO competition

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By Kelly Cantrall

T.K. Stone Middle School students built their way to a first-place state finish.

The Lego League at T.K. Stone won the robot performance category in the Kentucky First Lego League State Robotics Championship earlier this month.

The challenge is to create a Lego robot, which must complete a series of “missions” in two and a half minutes. The performance is scored based on the mission’s value rating and the success of completion. Missions include using robots to move objects around a map.

The T.K. Stone team received 345 points, 29 points higher than a Glasgow Middle School team that came in second.

The team must select missions it is willing to attempt in the allotted time, while considering the point value and chance of success. Attachments must be built to assist robots in missions and each robot must be programmed so it will follow the appropriate directions to complete the task.

This year, the robot completed all of its missions, which is an unusual feat, team adviser Celeste Lawson said.

“The goal was to get all the missions done and they did,” Lawson said. Winning the category was “the icing on the cake.”

The team completed a total of eight missions, seventh-grader Zachary Johnson said. Teams get three chances at the two and a half minutes and the highest score is used.

The team finished all of its missions on its last try, freshman Esther Huggins said.

“We went from 11th (place) to first in a matter of two and a half minutes,” Huggins said.

During the timed competition, Johnson said the students shut out everything else going on while they competed. Huggins agreed.

“You get tunnel vision,” she said.

Volunteer Bill Clagett said Lego League is a way to boost students’ understanding of scientific concepts.

“It exposes a lot of kids to science and the scientific method that otherwise wouldn’t be exposed,” Clagett said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.