Robotics teams from Destin MS, Davidson MS, and Shoal River MS participate in a FIRST®  Lego League Pre-Qualifier.

Robotics teams from Destin Middle School, Davidson Middle School, and Shoal River Middle School traveled to Monticello, FL this past Saturday to participate in a FIRST® Lego League (FLL) Pre-Qualifier. For students and teacher mentors that are new to the competition, attending a Pre-Qualifier is very important.

The Pre-Qualifiers are run just like the real Qualifiers for advancement. The students are judged for Robot Design, CORE Values (Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, & Fun), Solution to a design problem (this year is a human problem in deep space travel), and of course the Competition Game where student designed, built, and programmed robots to complete mission tasks for points standing.

Okaloosa County Students compete in three different levels FIRST® Robotics (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology). Our younger students compete in FLL (FIRST® Lego League). The knowledge they gain prepares them for the subsequent levels of as they move through Middle and High School. For all levels, students work as a team to design, build, program and compete with their robot, all while working within time, budget, criteria, and constraints, for the problem theme, this year it is Space Travel.

One of the greatest things about a Pre-Qualifier event is the sharing of knowledge, skills, techniques, and strategies. The mentors and the kids come together in this environment and the culture of sharing flourishes. When the students understand that there is not just one right answer, but many right solutions to a challenge, the creativity meter explodes.

Two of the Davidson Middle School teams, led by Tim Sexton, won top honors Saturday, CORE Values and Best Overall Team. Congratulations!