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Dennis Lab Robo-Panthers

Dennis Lab Robo Panthers FLL Team

The FIRST Lego League (FLL) ( is a partnership between Dean Kamen’s FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology ( and LEGO Group. It is a worldwide competition of teams of up to ten participants aged 9-14. Each year there is a different theme and there are four components to the competition. These are the Robot Competition, a Technical presentation, Project presentation, and the Core Values exercise.

The Robot Competition requires teams to design, build, and program a robot to navigate an obstacle course. The Technical presentation has team members review the design of the robot and the programs they have written for competition. The Project includes researching the topic to identify a theme related problem, create a unique solution and share the solution. Challenge themes have included Food Factor, Senior Solutions, Nature’s Fury, World Class (Education), Trash Trek, and Animal Allies. Finally, teams are graded on the ability to demonstrate and explain the Core Values during a team exercise (and throughout the competition).

Here at DPS 61, FLL teams typically begin meeting in August and meet until the Regional competition in mid-December. Teams meet several times a week (with additional meetings and a scrimmage the month before Regional). Teams that qualify for the State Competition (as John’s Hill did in 2014-2015, TJMS did in 2015-2016, and Dennis Lab, John’s Hill and TJMS all did in this the 2016-2017 season) will continue meeting until late January / early February. Each school has one or two teacher coaches and one or two Caterpillar engineer mentors. TJMS has had a team for seven years. John’s Hill has had a team for four or five years. Other middle schools, K-8 and elementary schools have had teams as well, with eight participating at this year Regional.