Molokai may be small but its robotics teams loom large in the First Lego League Maui District.
Two weeks ago, the Oompah Loompahs and the Molokai Blizzard Boys — representing students from Kaunakakai Elementary, Molokai Middle School and Molokai High School — placed first and second respectively at the FLL Maui District Tournament in Kahului.
Because of the size of the Maui District, a second qualifying tournament was held last Saturday at the Maui High School Gym. The Kualapu’u Elementary School robotics team — the SenseSeeAble Solutions — qualified for the state tournament next month by taking first place in the Best Project category.
The team “had an exceptional performance,” according to team coach Sue Forbes. The sixth grade Kualapu’u students earned first place for their research, development and presentation of two products: the Chameleon Pan and the Rockin’ Soap Dispenser.
Under the theme “Food Factor,” the SenseSeeAble Solutions team designed the Chameleon Pan to change color (providing a sensory cue) when the food inside the pan was in the danger zone of 40˚ to 140˚ Farenheit. For this product, the students researched the diseases E. coli and Salmonella and new, technologically-advanced liquid crystals.
The Rockin’ Soap Dispenser was designed to show a hand-washing song video on its cover when triggered by a waving motion as a person soaps up. Students studied the pathology of the disease Shigella to help develop this product.
Team members Ikaika Bicoy, Genevieve Kikukawa, Michelle McGuire, Susan Donnally and Tabby Fernandez beat out 17 other Maui teams for Best Project. For the presentation, the team used a Powerpoint and the 30-second hand-washing video that they had written and produced. After the presentation, students answered 15 minutes of questions from the scientists who served as judges.
Judges asked the students to explain their inventions and their research process. The group was well prepared with three poster boards, a pamphlet and three notebooks filled with research notes, contact documentation and study methods.
“The students obviously did a wonderful job in their presentation, receiving outstanding marks from the judges for their use of technology, research, organization, innovation and teamwork,” said Forbes.
Winning the overall competition was Maui Mechanical Menehunes. Four other teams qualified for the state tournament, which takes place Dec. 3 in Honolulu: Maui Waena FE2, Maui Upcountry Crushers, Lanai Torch ‘Em and the Maui Mind Reapers.
MEDB’s Women in Technology partnered with Maui High School’s STEMworks, FIRST Robotics team and Digital Media, and the Maui Waena’s Digital Media program to offer the largest FLL qualifier tournament in the state.