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NEWS | March 9, 2011

SSC Atlantic takes part in Lego League state competition

By Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic public affairs SPAWAR SSC

SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic sponsored six robotics teams while employees served as volunteers during the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - Lego League South Carolina state competition, an all-day event held March 5 at the North Charleston Convention Center.

The event marked the end of the FIRST Lego challenge for South Carolina. Several teams coached by SSC Atlantic personnel made it to the finals following the Lowcountry regional competition held in late January.

SSC Atlantic provided a number of judges and referees, including its highest ranking civilian employee, Technical Director Christopher Miller and Chief Engineer Bruce Carter.

The competition brought together some of South Carolina's brightest students and gave them a chance to demonstrate their engineering and problem-solving skills, critical thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship and sense of community. Eighty South Carolina FLL teams, featuring children in fourth through eighth grade competed.

A record number of children from kindergarten to third grade competed in Junior FLL contests. Sixteen teams competed and showed their Body Forward solutions, including topics such as wheelchair manufacturing, helicopter and boat transportation, the use of various prosthetics, a stress test simulation and a flashing, beating heart. Each team was awarded a certificate and each child an FLL medal.

This year's theme, "Body Forward," challenged the children to investigate biomedical engineering. Teams could choose any part of the body or anything related to the body, such as testing diseases or equipment and then had to perform research, build a model featuring a moving piece. For the Junior FLL, the competition required that a piece be moved by hand or motor, and for the FLL, a motorized component was required. The teams also had to make a poster and present their concepts.

SSC Atlantic employees participating as judges were Michelle Rehr-Matash and Jessica Eisen. SSC Atlantic personnel who participated throughout this year's competition and coached teams that also went to the state competition were Amanda Womble-Patterson, Karen Cooke, Sarah Leitner, Glenn Hoffman, Tim Gardner, David Kappel, Gabriel Magwood, Solomon Nkwocha, Jack Ellis and Cager Clemon.

SSC Atlantic-coached teams winning awards were the Nano Hawks, coached by Ms. Womble-Patterson and Ms. Cooke from Hanahan Middle School who won the Programming second place award, and the Arthrobots, coached by Ms. Leitner, from Marrington Middle School of the Arts, who won the Programming third place award. The Knowbots from Buist Academy were crowned South Carolina champions and are now eligible to compete in the North American Open at Lego Land in Carlsbad, Calif.

Participation in Lego League events is only one of the various SSC Atlantic outreach activities designed to inspire, develop and attract the science, technology, engineering and math talent needed to deliver innovative solutions for the nation's and SSC Atlantic's current and future challenges.