News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 9, 2013
Sedgwick Elementary takes top spot at Northern Maine Lego Robotics Track Meet

Lego champs, Lauren Brown, Sarah Chambers and LeeAnn Varnum

Holding their winning steeplechase robot, from left, Lauren Brown, Sarah Chambers and LeeAnn Varnum.

Photo courtesy of Megan Carter

by Jessica Brophy

For the second time in three years, the Sedgwick Elementary School’s LEGO Robotics team took first place overall at the Northern Maine LEGO Robotics Track Meet on Saturday, May 4, in Ellsworth.

Lego robotics is a competition where students build robots from Legos and are asked to compete with those robots in a number of ways.

The team has 11 students in grades 5-7. Only four children are veteran LEGO Robotic team members; the rest are new fifth-graders.

“They are really young,” said coach Megan Carter. “But they had great ideas.”

Alexis Tozier won second place in the Speed Build, where students have to construct a particular robot as quickly as possible. LeeAnn Varnum, Lauren Brown and Sarah Chambers won first place in the Steeplechase event, where robots have to be moved following specific instructions as quickly as possible. Jason Herrick and Alexis Tozier won first place in the Walking Robot competition, wherein a robot (with two or more legs—no wheels or tracks) has to walk 36 inches as quickly as possible. Herick and Tozier also took first and second place in the Ping Pong Shooters event.

The team was rounded out by Cole Dewey, Logan Rideout, Everett Carter, Hannah Rankin, Andrea Hamilton and Dawn Hutchinson. All players made the gold standard in their events—which means completing specific tasks such as a Lego robot walking the “Walking Robot” competition course in less than 20 seconds.

Carter and her husband Luke Carter have coached the team for the past three years. Their daughter graduated from Sedgwick last year and now attends George Stevens Academy. Carter said she and Luke will not be coaching the robotics team next year, as more of their attention is needed elsewhere.

LEGO Robotics takes a lot of time to participate in and to coach. This year, the team met once per week for three hours from January through February. In April, the team started meeting twice per week from 3 to 6 p.m.

The Carters are seeking alternative coaches for the team. “We’ve received a lot of support, and donations of Legos,” said Carter. “It would really be too bad to see the program end.” She and Luke are willing to help next year.