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April 2014


FLL robotics: more than playing with Legos

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) Team 10398, Waterford Recreation Department's R2B2 joined 32 other FLL teams at Waukesha West High School on Nov. 1, armed with a robot programmed to run autonomous missions in a game filled with 14 challenges simulating tasks senior citizens face every day.

Each fall FLL releases a new challenge based on a real-world scientific topic, which this year dealt with helping improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged and connected in their communities. According to the FIRST website at, FLL is a robotics program designed to get children excited about science and technology while teaching them valuable employment and life skills.

FLL members, with the help of adult coaches, program an autonomous robot to score points on a thematic playing surface. Additionally, teams create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project, all while guided by the FLL Core Values, which are the cornerstones of FLL, where members learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and teamwork is the foundation of a team's success.

While R2B2 wasn't among the eight teams from the Waukesha Regional selected to advance to the state tournament that will be held in Mukwonago on Saturday, Dec. 8, all members took away the lessons gleaned from hands-on experimentation with science, engineering and technology.

While many FLL members at the Waukesha regional found programming the robot to be a challenge, they also were surprised by the challenges seniors face.

Like any organized sport, teams must fundraise, create a team identity and go on field trips as part of the season's challenge. For more information on FIRST and FLL, visit

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