Heading to Nationals


Above:The Almighty Fiery Alpacas took home the Core Value Championship at the State First LEGO League Tournament for the second straight year and will now head to Nationals in Arkansas. Team members are Isabel Kulm, Rona Streitz, Jillian Knippling, Amelia Pieper and Sierra Thielsen. Below: Members of the Burning Breakfast Burritos are from left, Alex Nickel, Tillie Haugen, Piper Haugen, Creighton Hanson and Alex Julson.

Students who are part of the Moody County 4-H Robotics Team are headed to two separate national tournaments.
The two teams competed at the SD State First LEGO League tournament held on the campus of Augustana College this past weekend. The teams are asked to run three robot runs, present an innovation solution, and finally exhibit and know their Core Values. This year’s theme was “Super Powered”, meaning the teams had to present a solution that improved the energy journey in their community.
The Almighty Fiery Alpacas won the Core Value Champion award for the 2nd year in a row. Team members are: Isabel Kulm, Rona Streitz, Jillian Knippling, Amelia Pieper, and Sierra Thielsen. In order to win the Core Values Award teams must demonstrates overall outstanding achievement in all of the following areas: Inspiration, Teamwork and Gracious Professionalism where teams clearly recognize that both friendly competition and mutual gain are possible, on and off the playing field.
Their solution is a micro hydroelectric vortex turbine that can be used to help Flandreau produce its own energy to be used as primary or supplemental power.  The Alpacas will be advancing to the Razerback Open Invitational May 17th- 21st on the University of Arkansas campus. Coaches for the team are Erica Knippling, Matthew Knippling, and Wendy Streitz.
Winners of the Champion’s Award were the Burning Breakfast Burritos.
This award, said Knippling, is the most prestigious of the awards as it encompasses all aspects of the Robot Design, Project, and Core Values Awards and requires the team to rank in the top 40% of the Robot Performance scores at the event.
The Burritos solution was using biodigesters to generate electricity in third world countries. Members of their team met with engineers from POET to come up with their solution. The Burritos also placed in the top 3 for their robotic runs during the state competition. They will be advancing to the national competition held at the WPI Open in Worcester, Massachusetts in June.
“There are just some really cool things to come out of LEGO League,” said Knippling.
Burning Breakfast Burritos Team members include: Alex Nickel, Tillie Haugen, Piper Haugen, Creighton Hanson, and Alex Julson. Coaches are Sadie Haugen and Dustin Lau.
Members will be holding an open house on Sunday, March 12th at the Janklow community Center at 6:00 to which is open to the public. Teams will be presenting their solutions and robot runs and begin their fundraising campaign for their national competition.
Moody County Robotics is funded by donations and grants. If interested in donating to the teams or members, and are unable to attend, please contact Erica Knippling at [email protected] for information.
FIRST LEGO League guides youth through STEM learning and exploration at an early age. From Discover, to Explore, and then to Challenge, students will understand the basics of STEM and apply their skills in an exciting competition while building habits of learning, confidence, and teamwork skills along the way.

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