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Horizon Aquabots win robotics championship

MADISON – Horizon Elementary School’s LEGO Robotics team, the Aquabots, solved a real-world problem with the water supply to cinch the Champion’s Award in competition at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The Horizon Aquabots entered the First LEGO League Qualifier contest at UAH during November. “Our objective was to advance to the state competition,” coach and sponsor Rebecca Ellis said.

“For their project, the team had to identify a problem in the human water cycle and find an innovative solution to the problem,” Ellis said.

Team members of the Aquabots are sixth-graders John Allison and John Baumbach and fifth-graders Christopher Rueben, Luke Allen, Jake Ellis, Mason Truesdail and Michael Schmauch.

Twelve teams entered the UAH contest with approximately 100 students, mostly representing public schools. Two home-school teams also participated, Ellis said.

During the morning session of the competition, the Aquabots team presented three of the four challenges to groups of judges that the contest rules required. The three challenges were a project introduction, a core values presentation and robot design.

In the afternoon session, the Horizon students competed in the Robot Game. “For the Robot Game, they had to program a robot to complete missions,” Ellis said.

To activate their project, the Aquabots used an EV3 robot and programming. “They named their robot Hydrobot,” Ellis said. “The students used a color sensor to help with the programming.”

“These students have learned so much,” Ellis said. “They’ve learned to synergize together as a team.”

In addition, the Horizon students learned the requirements to work as problem solvers and never give up. “They’ve also learned that their robot needs to be deterministic (consistent and reliable),” Ellis said.

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