Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

January 22, 2013

Koinonia Home School ‘LegoNators’ team earns Champions Award at FIRST® LEGO® League qualifier

AMERICUS — FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team "LegoNators" won the second-place Championship Award at qualifying competition held Dec. 1 at Columbus State University. The students are members of the Koinonia Home School Cooperative, Sumter County Elementary and Sumter County Middle schools.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology — and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project.

Every year there is a new challenge. This year’s challenge, Senior Solutions, encouraged the students to research and create ways to keep aging adults active healthy and independent. The LegoNators team researched the problem of mobility and independence in senior adults and designed a walker that can transform into a cane for easy use on stairs.

LegoNators team members include, Ryan Mournighan, age 12; Heather Thornburgh, 11; Grace Dalva, 11; Eric Dalva, 11; Maya Wynn, 9; Johanna Nordwall, 11; Peter Nordwall, 12, and Leila Dalva 12.

Inspiration for this year’s project design came from the Nordwall students.

"Getting that second-place trophy was the best day of my life," says Johanna Nordwall.

Her grandfather and father struggle with mobility issues and gave great advice on the project.

The competition was judged in four areas: project presentation; robot performance; technical design and programming of the robot; and teamwork, with a consideration of the FLL Core Values which include professionalism and good sportsmanship. The Champions Award is presented to the team that embodies the FLL experience by fully embracing the Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the robot game and project.

The qualifying competition is the first in a three-part series of competitions. Thirty-two teams from around the state competed and 14 are invited to the next round, called Regional. Success at that event means the team progresses to the state competition level.

The Lego League is sponsored by Koinonia Farm through the Koinonia Home School Cooperative. The cooperative is a group of home schooling families who meet at Koinonia Farm to educate their children in academics and life skills. The children, ranging in age from 3 to 16, learn together in small groups, provide service to the larger community and share in Koinonia’s vision: love through service to others, peace through reconciliation and joy through generous hospitality.


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