Livingston Lego robotics leagues team up

Samantha Hill

Livingston 4-Hers along with Links for Learning have combined robotics teams this year to pool resources and compete in area competitions.

Links Director Terri Hartly said the Links robotics team has existed for about five years in conjunction with FIRST or For Inspiration and Recognition Science and Technology, and has always had a fairly high turnout as opposed to the 4-H robotics group that has only a few registered children and is still in its infancy.

Hartly said combining teams created a larger team of eight to bring to competitions, something the 4-Hers were unable to do in the past.

Ashley Sites, was the leader of the 4-H group but is now helping teach both.

Sites said he didn’t have any background related to robotics but decided to take it on two years ago.

“The program hadn’t happened for several years, so I decided to do that,” he said.

Since then he was working with Links to learn more about the program to bring back to his group, so it was natural for the two to eventually come together.

The group is comprised of fourth and fifth grade students. Links Program Assistant Margie Dorr said the team is one of the youngest heading to the FIRST competition in January at Montana State University.

Each year, there is an established task that the group must complete related to an assigned issue, this year it revolves around water called “Hydro Dynamics.”

Meeting every Tuesday and Thursday for the past three weeks, the group has slowly been creating their Lego pieces such as a toilet or a water filtration mechanism. Earlier this week, the group came up with their name, Operation H2Woah Bots.

“They came up with it all on their own, pretty clever eh?” Dorr said Thursday.

As they poked and prodded at their designs, the students tried to establish what and how things worked as well as how they will be used in the competition.

“It moves!” fourth grader Kameron Miller exclaimed.

4-Hers outside of the fourth and fifth grade age groups interested in becoming part of the robotics still can, Sites said. They will be able to attend to seperate meetings but learn all the same things.