The Roboteers, a robotics team sponsored by the Department of Physics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, recently participated in the West Virginia FIRST Foundation Lego League (FLL) sanctioned robotics competition held at WVU Parkersburg.

The FLL competition, designed for upper elementary through middle school students, offered competition and prizes in robot performance, robot design, research and teamwork.

This year’s theme was”Exploring Mars,”and students were asked to design a robot that would independently complete a series of exploration-related tasks on a simulated Martian landscape. The competition rules were announced in September and the children had roughly 10 weeks to design and build their robots.

The Roboteers won first prize in the robot design category (winning a trophy made of Lego) and finished third in the robot performance category.

The Roboteers, made up of five 5th graders, one 6th grader and one 7th grader, were: Anna Driver, Sean Coffers, Adam Raese, Luke Scime, David Moore, Tessa Wiegand and Haley Tucker from the following schoolsMorgantown Learning Academy, Mountainview Elementary, Brookhaven Elementary and Woodburn Elementary.

Other teams from Morgantown also captured trophies. The St. Francis team won first prize in the research competition; Cheat Middle School won second prize in the teamwork category.

Earl Scime, chair of the WVU Department of Physics, along with Phillip Tucker, lab instrumentation specialist, and Amy Keesee, a graduate student in physics, coached the team. The Department of Physics also provided the equipment and practice space.

“I think what impressed me the most was watching the kids in the technical and teamwork judging rounds. They really understood the different design choices and comprises that were made in both the robot hardware and their programs. I hope that someday I will see them in my physics courses here at WVU ,”Professor Scime said.