Aspen Middle School is gearing up for the FIRST Lego League Colorado Regional Championship, where four of its robotics teams will showcase their programming and problem-solving abilities. The teams are vying for a chance to qualify for the World Championship in Houston this April. This year’s challenge, titled “Masterpiece,” revolves around a cinema-and-arts theme, requiring students to design robots that interact with Lego sets or carry pieces of art to complete scenes and adjust stage equipment.
The excitement among the students and their coach, George Helfenstine, is palpable. Helfenstine expresses his enthusiasm for the teams’ achievements so far, emphasizing the dedication and persistence the students have shown throughout their preparations. The qualifying tournaments in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Grand Junction saw some remarkable performances by Aspen Middle School teams.
In Colorado Springs, Robotix Octopada secured an impressive 10th place out of 34 teams in scoring and earned second place in the Champion’s Award judging category, which recognizes overall excellence, innovation, performance, and design. The Bolt Bears also made their mark, finishing 21st in scoring and receiving a silver award in Core Values for their extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.
The Robot Rookies outperformed others in the Denver tournament, clinching the highest score among all teams. Meanwhile, Aspen’s Lightning Strikes! claimed the first-place spot in scoring at the Grand Junction event. These stellar performances have propelled these teams to the state championship, held at the University of Denver.
The Aspen Middle School robotics program, overseen by Helfenstine and dedicated volunteers, ignites the passion for engineering in dozens of students at the school. Guided by their mentors, the students work tirelessly to overcome challenges and hone their skills in building and programming robots. The program runs four days a week for two hours after school, and during the crucial competition period, the students devote countless additional hours to perfect their designs.
FIRST, an international organization, promotes engineering and robotics among youth. The Aspen Middle School program is made possible by the generous support of the Aspen Education Foundation and the unwavering encouragement of parents. Despite facing setbacks due to the pandemic, the team is rebuilding and setting a strong foundation for the future.
With aspirations to become a world-class robotics program from elementary through high school, Aspen Middle School is cultivating a new generation of engineers and problem solvers. The students are excited about the challenges ahead and eagerly await the opportunity to showcase their abilities at the state championship.
1. What is the FIRST Lego League Colorado Regional Championship?
The FIRST Lego League Colorado Regional Championship is a robotics competition where teams from various schools showcase their programming and problem-solving skills using Lego robots.
2. What is the theme for this year’s event?
The theme for this year’s event is “Masterpiece,” which revolves around a cinema-and-arts theme, requiring teams to build robots that interact with Lego sets or carry pieces of art to complete scenes and adjust stage equipment.
3. How are teams selected for the state championship?
Teams are selected for the state championship based on their performance, design, team spirit, and other factors evaluated by the judges during the qualifying tournaments.
4. How is the Aspen Middle School robotics program supported?
The Aspen Middle School robotics program receives financial support from the Aspen Education Foundation. Additionally, the program’s success is credited to the dedication of parents who allow students to work long hours in the robotics room and provide transportation for competitions.
5. What is the ultimate goal of the robotics program at Aspen Middle School?
The goal of the robotics program at Aspen Middle School is to cultivate a world-class robotics program that spans from elementary to high school, nurturing a passion for engineering and problem-solving among students.