In a spirit of friendly competition and “gracious professionalism,” two MG DREAM Teams and four CSMS Tiger DREAM Teams gathered along with nearly 120 other students from 18 teams from across Illinois to compete for one of eight qualifying spots in the upcoming FLL Illinois State Competition. Each team was evaluated on their performance in four areas: 1) the table competition, in which teams programmed robots -- which students designed and built -- to gain points by completing specific tasks in just 2 minutes and 30 seconds, 2) the robot presentation, in which teams explain the reasoning behind their robot design, 3) the research project presentation, in which teams propose their solution to a real world problem, and 4) a team challenge, in which students demonstrate their mastery of FLL core values. This year, the MG boys’ DREAM Team achieved the second highest robot score, exceeded only by the MG girls’ DREAM Team, who received both Top Robot Score and the Champion Award. Both MG teams and one CSMS team secured a spot at the upcoming state competition, no doubt attesting to the hours of investment from these innovative students and their dedicated coaches: Tony Cho, Eugene Skura, Bret Anno, Carol Anno, and Greg Kennicott. “Congratulations to Coach Cho and and the 3 DREAM teams who qualified for IL State Championship,” remarks Fred Goldman, D75 Board Member and Tournament Director. “Our award winning DREAM Teams are the premier public school competitive robotics program in Lake County and continue to offer our 4th - 8th grade students experiences in real world engineering, programming, research and marketing opportunities and compete for State titles.”
This is D75’s third year to host an FLL tournament. FLL is an international competition organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to inspire elementary and middle school students to take a scientific approach in solving real world challenges. Founded by Dean Kamen in 1999, there are presently 29,873 teams participating. Through participation in this robotics program, our D75 students research a global issue, use critical thinking and collaboration to develop a creative solution, and communicate their solution to their community. This year’s project, Hydro-Dynamics, required students to design projects relating to finding, transporting, using, or disposing of water. Our D75 teams began their research in August 2017, simultaneously learning how to design a robot and persevere as a team through all phases of learning. The December 3rd competition was a culmination of hundreds of hours of investment since August. In the words of Coach Tony Cho, it was “the day when the coaches step back and the students shine. The students work together to make sure they are on time for their next event, the students decide on robot strategy and fix any problems on their own should they arise, and the students cheer on each other and other opposing teams. It is truly amazing to watch how they function on their own and how they rise to the challenges on tournament day.” For the teams who have not yet qualified for the state competition, tournament day will soon again greet them. Two Sandburg DREAM Teams will compete at Lincoln Middle School in Mt. Prospect on Saturday, December 16th, and the all girls Sandburg DREAM Team will compete at the Girl Scout Center in Vernon Hills the following day. The three advancing D75 teams will compete in the state championship at Elgin Community College next month; the MG DREAM Teams will compete on January 13th and the Sandburg DREAM Team will compete on January 14th.