Come to the LigerBots STEAM Expo and Robot Zoo!
December 4, 2023

The LigerBots will host a STEAM activity expo for children and robot zoo on Dec. 16 from 10-3 at Newton North High School, accompanying the Massachusetts East FIRST LEGO League Championship, which runs from 9-4. The entire event is free and open to the public.

LigerBots Host Newton FLL Qualifier + Upcoming FLL Championship and STEAM Expo
November 20, 2023

Last Saturday, November 18 at Newton North High School, the LigerBots hosted the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Newton Qualifier, a competition using LEGO robots built by elementary and middle schoolers passionate about robotics. The LigerBots have hosted FLL tournaments since 2008, and the team was excited to continue hosting in 2023. LEGOs and robots in every corner of the building, booming voices of the MC announcing matches, 14 FLL teams, and 70 LigerBot students working hard to run this show certainly made Newton North very lively last Saturday. FLL team projects on this year’s FIRST theme of the arts filled the cafeteria.

FLL teams awaiting for referees to score previous round.

The LigerBots set up a booth on Newton North’s Main Street corridor, showcasing their 2022 competition robot, and two hands-on STEAM activities: making custom buttons and origami pieces. The kids enjoyed interacting with the robot, a machine that could shoot giant tennis balls for them to catch, and overall it was a great way to entertain the attendees with STEAM demonstrations.

Kids interacting with the 2022 robot at the Ligerbooth.
Ligerbot members instructing kids on origami STEAM activity.

The qualifier concluded with an awards ceremony and a fun dance party. All four teams from Newton received an award: Cookie Coders (Innovation Project first place), Voltage (Innovation Project second place), New England Code Crackers (Core Values first place) and The First Layer (Judges Award). 

Of the 14 FLL teams that attended, six teams advanced to the state finals: 52042 Goofy Gyros, 52438 Mechanical Madness, 55783 Cookie Coders, 56378 New England Code Crackers, 57499 Acton Avengers, and 60562 The Mind Coders. Two of these teams are from Newton, the Cookie Coders and New England Code Crackers. These teams will compete at the upcoming Massachusetts FLL Championship which will be divided between competitions at WPI and at Newton North.

If you thought last weekend was fun, come visit us on December 16th from 9am-4pm, for the MA FLL Championship at Newton North High School, also run by the LigerBots. Come watch the 48 FLL teams compete head-to-head and check out our STEAM Expo, run alongside the competition. At the STEAM Expo, from 10am-3pm, kids and attendees have the opportunity to engage in a large variety of hands-on STEAM activities, explore a number of local organizations’ booths, and interact with bigger robots from FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge. This event is free and open to the public! 

LigerBots Host FLL Scrimmage at WPS
November 19, 2023

On November 12, the LigerBots hosted its first FIRST Lego League (FLL) scrimmage at WPS institute in preparation for the FLL Newton Qualifier on Saturday November 19. With the help of Carrie Wihbey from WPS Institute, the LigerBots and the FLL teams who attended had a great first FLL scrimmage at WPS.

FLL Robots in action!

It provided practice to both the participants of FLL and our team members, and many members have expressed being impressed with the robots the FLL teams had built.

Student Co-Chief Marketing Officer Tristan Leung said, “I thought a lot of the designs were genius like how there were lots of setups so like they would have frames they would put their robots into so it would line up perfectly.

LigerBot members practicing resetting the playing field for FLL teams.

Around 8 FLL teams attended and all of them seemed very excited to be there and as the scrimmage continued, there was visible improvement and the start of strategy and teamwork being applied within the participants.

“I noticed that the FLL teams worked together well and demonstrated communication skills,” said team member Sarah Hemment.

FLL team members working together to fix their robot.

The scrimmage included mock games, there were a few rounds of the game and the teams would rotate participating in the game while other teams would be sent to judging rooms.

“A coach and I were both judging a team called the Gummy Bears.” According to team member Wes Halliwell, “Their innovation project was very well done and showed a lot of effort.” 

FLL team presenting in judge room.

The LigerBots’ Field Trip to Rockwell Automation
November 16, 2023

On November 8, the LigerBots attended the Rockwell Automation Conference, an annual conference that we were invited to as an FRC team. This year the event was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

LigerBots with the Canton RoboDogs and the Weston GNCE FTC teams. Dean Kamen holding the shirt. Robin Saitz in red jacket, FIRST CEO Chris Moore in dark vest next to Robin Saitz

The Rockwell Automation Conference is a three day long trade conference, where we were given the opportunity to interact with industry professionals. The LigerBots attended Rockwell as a representative for FIRST, spreading awareness of FIRST to the community.

LigerBots driving robot and concentrating on the game.

“Rockwell is one of our biggest sponsors so I was super excited to be there and we got to talk to other FIRST teams and talk to professionals in various fields,” said Co-COO Charlotte Storey.

We brought our 2023 robot and we did mock games of Charged Up, last year’s FRC game as a way to demonstrate what type of activities we do as a high school robotics team, a perfect opportunity to meet and talk to many new potential sponsors. There were many local and nationwide companies in attendance at Rockwell, as well as many professionals within STEM industries which the LigerBots got to interact with. We also got a chance to tour the conference and see products and ideas of all the different companies such as an electromagnetic table with floating plates.

LigerBots demonstrating robot with Robin Saitz.

“I thought that there were a couple of biotech/regenerative organ companies that worked on really interesting things.” said Co-CTO Julia Hulburd.

Something that one of many of the members enjoyed was the provided food at the venue.

“I remember that we had really good food at the venue and there was good steak, chicken and this really delicious blue cheese dressing” according to team member Franklin Ji, “That day I was so full, I didn’t even eat dinner.”

Smashing Success at City Hall

The LigerBots attended the annual Newton Pumpkin Smash on November 4th at City Hall, bringing our custom built smasher. It is the 3rd year The LigerBots have been invited to this event, and we were so happy to be back. 

Pumpkin smasher in action!

30 LigerBots attended the event to help run the smasher and the STEAM activities. Over the course of 4 hours we were able to smash over a hundred pumpkins with our smasher. All pumpkins smashed were composted, ensuring the waste is kept minimal.

Getting kids involved in STEAM with our hands-on activities.

As a team, we have been working on this smasher for about 2 months, going through many iterations and different designs. Since the smasher is one of the first projects we do as a team each year, it is a great opportunity for rookies to get some hands-on experience with new tools throughout the shop and a great opportunity to get to know people on the team. Overall, the smasher was such a success and the smiles on the little kids faces and their joyous screams made all the hard work worth it. 

LigerBots members assembling our custom-built pumpkin smasher