Skagway’s First Lego League (FLL) team, The Prickles, took second in the state competition and has been asked to compete in the upcoming national competition in May.
FLL is a team-based competition that uses Legos to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics among students.
The Prickles started three years ago and has been a strong contender since beginning.
In the past three years Prickles has been competing, the team has consistently taken the top spot in the Juneau championship and moved on to the state competition. This year marks the highest showing for the team.
“We tried to really hard to take it to the next level this year,” Callia Fielding, an eighth grade team member.
Some of that included showing off their team spirit by dressing in the same outfits and planning games that the other teams could play while visiting their table.
Each team is judged on three different criteria when at championship: A robot game, projects and the core values the team displays. Last year, The Prickles took first in the core values competition at state.
In addition to the criteria, each team has to work around a theme. This year the theme was space.
“We did a lot of research and interviews,” said Chloe Miller, an eighth grade team member.
Normally, the competitions are hectic, but this year was more relaxed, she said.
“I think it’s because we’ve been doing it for so long that we have the feel for it,” said Adalia Deach, an eighth grade team member.
During the FLL Alaska championship this year, the team was asked to present their robot to all other teams in attendance.
While the robot had a few issues, The Prickles finished in 7th place out of 51 teams for their robot and took second place overall, because of the other categories the teams are judged on.
“When I heard our name, I didn’t think it was really us that got called and I didn’t stand up right away, said Ava Myers, a seventh grade team member.
“On the day of competition, three or four of them were sick, but you couldn’t tell,” said Andy Miller, the team’s coach.
Prickles will join one other team in representing Alaska at the national competition held at Legoland in California.
The competition at Legoland is spread out over three days and takes place inside the park.
“After you run your robot, you can wander around Legoland a bit,” said Calvin Miller, a sixth grade team member.
For the eighth graders on the team, the national competition will be their last run with The Prickles. While they expressed a little sadness about it being their last competition and no longer getting to compete with friends across the state, they felt happy that they’re ending on a high note.
“We got past Anchorage in our last year, so I’m really proud of that,” Deach said.