LigerBots Host FLL E. MA Championship
December 19, 2018

On Saturday, Dec. 15 the LigerBots hosted the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Eastern Massachusetts Championship.  In addition to competing in LEGO robot matches, 48 FLL teams from eastern Massachusetts presented their projects on this year’s outer-space theme,“Into Orbit.” The event also featured 10 FLL Jr. teams who presented their projects on this year’s FLL Jr. outer-space based theme, “Mission Moon.” More than 1100 people attended, including teams and members of the public.

Astronettes react to their robot’s progress
Purple Gearticks set up for a match
The arena
Red Gear Ticks compete
Rocket Royalty watch their robot perform its tasks
Galaxy Girls change robot parts during a match
Burlington Space Potatoes set up for a match
Zero Gravity sets up for a match
Newton’s Day Dragons react to their robot’s success
Racing Rockets FLL Jr. team goes through the awards handshake line
Robotic Tacos FLL Jr. team with their Mission Moon project

Accompanying the tournament was a maker fair featuring hands on activities from the Brandeis Maker Lab, Code Ninjas,  Newton Free Library, Einstein’s Workshop, Empow Studios, Gamewright, Hatch Makerspace, Johnson String Instrument, Kevin Osborn, Maker, Massachusetts National Guard and Students for a Greener World. People dressed in Star Wars storm trooper costumes circulated and posed for photographs.

LigerBot Ben joins staff from the Brandeis Makerspace explaining 3D printing to a visitor
Visitors drive a Massachusetts National Guard robot
Visitors try programming a robot at the table of LigerBots sponsor Empow Studios
A Storm Trooper rides the electricity-generating bike at the Newton Free Library exhibit

The maker fair was attended by 70 Newton Girl Scouts and served as their 2018 STEAM Workshop. The scouts earned their STEAM patch by participating in Ligerbots-sponsored activities, as well as those of other makers.

Girl Scouts do the Ozbot slot car challenge at the Code Ninjas table
Girl Scouts learn how a train follows a black track the Hatch Makerspace table
A staff member from LigerBots sponsor Gamewright teaches games to Girl Scouts at the maker fair
Kevin Osborn, maker, explains some science to the Girl Scouts
A Girl Scout tries out a violin at the Johnson String Instrument table at the maker fair

LigerBots offered many of our own hands-on STEAM activities, including conductive doughs, 3D printing, button making, paper airplanes, origami, brush botsPB&J Robot, and binary beads. Our newly introduced slime activity proved to be extremely popular with our young visitors. 

Dorothea helps a maker fair visitor make a binary bracelet
Maggie helps some visitors make slime
FLL Jr. team members play with slime they made at the LigerBots maker fair table

Jordan helps visitors make custom buttons
Ethan explains a LigerBots 3D printer 
LigerBot Carolyn helps Girl Scouts do origami 

Two FIRST Robotics teams, 1058 PVC Pirates and 4048 Redshift, joined the LigerBots in a robot “zoo” that encouraged young visitors to touch and drive the robots. The LigerBots set up our 2018 competition pit to display our outreach materials and our team sponsors.

Members of the PVC Pirates help a visitor drive their robot
The LigerBots pit and outreach setup in the robot zoo, alongside the Redshift table

In addition to running our own STEAM activity tables at the maker fair, LigerBots filled many roles at the event, as they did at the FLL Newton Qualifier in November. Our team members, alumni  and mentors helped organize the event, did setup and breakdown, acted as referees, competition field resetters, DJs, announcers, AV specialists, food concessionaires, guides, and photographers. 

LigerBots 2017-18 CTO Cameron explains his scoring for the Red Gear Ticks’ match while current CTO Samy waits to referee the next match
The AV squad keeps the music going and the score display rolling
Jadon announces a match
AJ and Andrew discuss the match schedule
Charlotte resets for a new match

We were grateful to have staffing help from the Newton South High School Science Team and the Newton North High School Computer Programming Club, as well as from Amit, team captain of Israeli FRC team 6740 Glue Gun and Glitter, who has been a visitor to LigerBots activities throughout most of the month of December. 

LigerBots with the FLL E. MA Championship trophies. Amit from Glue Gun and Glitter is third from the left

After we returned Newton North High School to its original, spotless condition after the championship, LigerBots gathered at the home of our COO, Jordan, to have a game and movie night. 

Every year our FLL events get bigger and better. We can’t wait to do it again next fall! To see more photos from this year’s FLL championship, please visit our Flickr album devoted to the event.

The participants in the FLL E. MA Championship with the LigerBots