Spotlight on FIRST LEGO League Participants, Troop 1987
What started out as an ordinary troop trip to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS had an extraordinary impact on the Girl Scout Juniors in Troop 1987 from Gardener, KS! After learning how to program an FLL (FIRST LEGO League) robot, Troop 1987 left curious and wanting more!
At their next troop meeting, they voted to officially form an FLL team to compete and named themselves J. Gordon Low Resistance – after the founder of Girl Scouts and in a nod to the basic principles of electricity! They used their cookie proceeds to purchase their first kit – a $700 value and immediately got to work!
Dianne and Andy Stevens, troop leaders, were thrilled to see this newfound passion in their girls and pledged to double as troop leaders and coaches in this new adventure! Troop 1987/ J. Gordon Low Resistance committed to meeting twice a week to prepare for the spring competition season while also participating in traditional Girl Scout activities.
“FIRST LEGO League Overlaps really well with Girl Scout values,” Dianne said! FLL is completely girl/child-led; the adults act as coaches, guiding their team to the best or correct answers and FLL has a set of Core Values that teams pledge to follow (similar to the Girl Scout Promise and Law) that are as important as the robotic challenges themselves.
The FLL program is three-fold:
- Core Values – 8 basic principles that teams pledge to practice and adhere to.
Troop 1987/ J. Gordon Low Resistance practices their Core Values in every single meeting. Sometimes it’s in the work and practices itself, other times they do various team building exercises like figuring out how to fold and unfold a towel while all six members are standing upon it! They can recite the values and it is evident in talking to them that they truly believe in them.
- The Project – focused on a different theme each year, each team spends the year identifying a problem, designing a solution and then shares it with others through a judged competition and interview process.
The 2016 FLL theme was Animal Allies. After much discussion of animal and human interactions, the girls put together a project called the Hazenator to help Kansas farmers prevent coyote attacks on their livestock. One of the team members told a story about how her family’s livestock was attacked by coyotes. They wanted to invent a way to scare coyotes and protect sheep without killing the coyotes. The invented a drone that works with a bark collar on a sheep dog! In developing their solution, Troop 1987/ J. Gordon Low Resistance interviewed Dr. Julie K. Young, a specialist in coyotes, and she was seriously impressed with their solution!
- The Robot Game – designed around various missions, teams program their robot to complete missions quickly and effectively. The game is where teams spend a majority of their time working and scrimmaging to practice before competing locally and nationally!
The robot used by Troop 1987 was a basic robot EV3 with one color sensor. They used LEGO Mindstorms to code the missions and wrote pseudo code before they input the actual code! When their robot arrived, they had a building party to assemble the robot, as well as all the elements for the Animal Allies game. The pieces all play a role in what the robot has to do, navigating itself around the board!
Many of the girls in the troop have been together since first grade. As they get older there are other new and exciting opportunities to be a part of that draw girls away from Girl Scouting. Having formed themselves as a competing robotics troop, girls were eager to stay involved in Girl Scouts and they even recruited two new members!
As a rookie team that got a late start, J. Gordon Low Resistance accomplished some bold feats this year! They competed at a local competition the three categories above and took home the Innovative Solution Award for their Hazenator Project!
Whether Girl Scouts are being lifelong learners at camp, pioneers through travel, or dreamers and inventors through robotics, they are preparing themselves for a lifetime of leadership!
Know a super cool troop like 1987? Tell us about them using the comments section below. We love featuring our Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers and Leaders!