On Saturday, November 19, the LigerBots hosted the FLL Qualifier, a LEGO robotics tournament for middle and elementary schoolers. Eighteen teams of younger students from throughout Massachusetts came to compete in fun, fast-paced matches refereed by LigerBots students. The sound of the MC announcing the matches over the background music, a sea of colorful custom T-shirts, and LEGOs scattered throughout the school—this was the scene of the event, which was almost back in full swing after losing momentum from the pandemic.
Running alongside the Newton FLL Qualifier, the annual LigerBots STEAM expo was a huge success! LigerBots offered eight hands-on activities, and there were several outside exhibitors, including the Massachusetts National Guard, Green Newton, and Johnson String Instrument, as well as high school groups such as the NNHS Programming club, NNHS STEMentors, NSHS Science team, and NSHS Women in STEM. More than 100 kids engaged in a variety of STEAM activities and demonstrations. Among the LigerBots activities, approximately 100 binary bracelets, 100 balloon cars, 100 origami double pyramids and tangrams, 50 cups of slime, 20 solar ovens, and more than 100 custom buttons were made.
NNTV, Newton North’s student-run television station, interviewed several LigerBots and FLL students during the event. Team member Kavin talked about the little moments that made the LigerBots fun for him, like playing soccer with fellow team members. With teammates Kevin and Roshan, Kavin also talked to NNTV about LigerBots’ core values and a basic rundown of FLL and the STEAM Expo. Despite his now sore throat, Kavin had an awesome time giving his thoughts!
The event ended with an awards ceremony and a dance party. Awards in several categories were given out. The five finalists were the Goofy Gyros (Champion’s Award Winner) from Ashland, Mechanical Madness (Champion’s Award Runner-up) from North Attleboro, Team Arrow from Canton, the Green Gearticks from Lincoln, and the Exploding Bananas from Lexington. Congratulations to these students, who will move on to the Massachusetts FLL Championship, at WPI, in the next round.
Of the 18 participating teams, five were from Newton: the Hawks, the Cookie Coders, Team Voltage, the Newton Nanobots, and the Tie-Dye Chickens. The Cookie Coders won second place in the Core Values judging and Team Voltage won the Rising All-Star award.