On December 14, 2019 at Hardin Valley Academy, two robotics teams from Jefferson Middle School qualified to participate in the 2020 FIRST Lego League East Tennessee State Championship, held on February 8, at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. Team #336, The Atomic Eagles, finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 405, and was awarded a first place trophy in gracious professionalism. This award recognized a team whose members showed each other and other teams respect at all times. They recognized that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible, on and off the playing field.  Team members are:  Aaliyah Herron, Aaron Fiscor, Alex Pickel, Brian Qu, Halie Campbell, Juno Morrill, Kate Pickel, Simon Weston, and Tristan Chartrand.  The team is coached by Janie Shanafield and mentored by high school students, Alex Shanafield and Mack Patrick of FRC Team #4265.

JMS Lego LeagueTeam #3132, the Master Builders, finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 455, and was awarded a second place trophy for robot performance.  This award recognizes a team that scores the most points during the robot game. Teams have a chance to compete in at least three, 2 ½-minute matches, and their highest score counts.  Master Builders were also awarded a first place trophy for robot strategy and innovation.  This award recognized a team that used solid engineering practices and a well- developed strategy to design and build an innovative, high-performing robot. Team members are:  Anya Withington, Aubrey Kilpatrick, Electra Wadley, Macy Ball, Miriam Withington, Olive Campbell, Stella Scott, and Sydney Blanchard.  The team is coached by Lexie Scott and mentored by Christopher Scott.

First Lego League began in 1999 and sponsors international competitions for 9-14 year old students. Each spring, at the World Championship, teams from over 50 countries compete in the areas of research, robot design, robot performance, and core values. Core values presentations demonstrated how the team incorporated the 6 core values set forth by FIRST into their team and life as a middle school student.  Core values are:  Discovery:  We explore new skills and ideas. Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems. Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.  Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.  Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.  Fun:  We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Research projects were based on the yearly FIRST Lego League theme. This year’s theme has been, “City Shapers.”  Each team spent several months researching and developing a project after identifying a problem with a public space or building in their community.  Atomic Eagles research project was called, “S.H.I.E.L.D. (Super Hydrophobic Impressed Effective Liquid Deflector) PVC Roofing.”  Master Builders’ project was titled “Curb-it (wheel chair ramps).” Each team went before judges and presented their ideas with a skit and then answered questions about their project.

Robot Design was a session in which team members described their robot and Lego Mindstorms EV3 programs to judges.  Team members were given an opportunity to explain why and how they built their robot, what the robot was supposed to do, and share any special code or features that they have learned and incorporated into their robot over the course of the season.

The Robot Game consisted of three, 2 ½-minute rounds.  Each team’s robot navigated obstacles and performed tasks on the board.  Students spent several months designing, building, and programming their robot. More information about the robot game and the other components of FIRST Lego League can be found at: www.firstinspires.org

The Jefferson Middle School Robotics teams are funded through generous grants from UT Battelle, Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, and Leidos.


Press release submitted by Coach Lexie Scott