Local students win Research Award at FIRST Lego League championship

Local students win Research Award at FIRST Lego League championship

Zachary Siegel, 12, of Cumberland, inspects one of the pieces on his team's Lego robot that was entered into the FIRST Lego League competition last Saturday at Roger Williams University. The team, made up of students from Cumberland and Lincoln, was awarded the contest's Research Award. (Valley Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

CUMBERLAND - Students from both Cumberland and Lincoln took home the Research Award last Saturday after competing in the FIRST Lego League Robotics State Championship at Roger Williams University.

FIRST Lego League gives students in grades 4 through 8 a chance to learn about computer programming, and designing and building robots.

The co-op team consists of five students from Lincoln Middle School, North Cumberland Middle School, Community Elementary School and one home-schooled student.

Jenna Saqib of Lincoln, John Barlow of Cumberland, Zachary Siegel of Cumberland, Paul Barlow of Cumberland and Jared Scribner of Lincoln, were among those who participated.

According to Paul Barlow, who coaches the team alongside Lincoln resident Bob Murphy, the students qualified for the state championship in November.

He said the students, who are sponsored by Swissline Precision Manufacturing in Cumberland and Concept Link Ltd. in Providence, built and programmed a robot to compete in The Robot Game, a series of obstacles on a thematic playing surface, against 300 local youth.

Prior to Saturday's championship, the students also had to research information relating to the topic "World Class Learning Unleashed."

Barlow said the students chose to focus on "How can we improve the way that 'tweens and teens learn about saving money?"

The students, who presented their findings to a panel of judges at the championship, interviewed Heather Hudson, director of financial empowerment at the Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer.

They also designed an online game titled "MoneyMania."

"They didn't actually have to design the game, just talk about it, but they went out and talked about it at Lincoln Middle School to 7th-graders, and Community Elementary School to 5th-graders, and talked about FIRST Lego League and talked about the core values, and the robot and a lot of students wanted to join. The teams have had a great time," Barlow said.

Jennah Saqib, 12, Paul Barlow, 10, John Barlow, 13, Jared Scribner, 11, and Zachary Siegel, 12, get their Lego robot ready for the competition at Roger Williams University.
Jared Scribner, 11, watches the Lego robot as it maneuvers its practice course.
Paul Barlow, 10, adjusts the robot's computer program.
Zachary Siegel, 12, left, and Paul Barlow, 10, make adjustments to their competition Lego robot. The Lego competition was held at Roger Williams University on Saturday, Jan. 17.