Editor’s note: This story is appearing in the paper again due to some information that was omitted the first time it ran.
TROY — One of the WACO Learning Center’s many programs is their robotics teams. On Sunday, Feb. 5, the WACO Rockets, a robotics team for local and home-schooled elementary and middle school students, earned a spot at the state FIRST LEGO League competition due to their performance at the FIRST LEGO League Dayton District Tournament.
This year teams competed by creating an Innovation Project and competing in the LEGO robotics portion of the competition.
The WACO Rockets are coached by parent volunteers Chad Apple, John Underwood and Neeta Rajput. For this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition Innovation Project the WACO Rockets chose to focus on the benefits of using geothermal roads as a way to save money on road maintenance.
Not only did the team present their Innovation Project at both the local and district competitions, earning the Innovation Award at both contests, the team also presented the project to the city of Troy engineers including a cost breakdown. The cost breakdown included the cost to install geothermal roads and maintain them compared to the cost of current road maintenance.
The second half of the FIRST LEGO League competition is the robotics portion. Teams were required to build and program their own LEGO robots to complete a series of tasks. The team had to program their robot to complete as many tasks in a series as possible in two and a half minutes. The robot had to complete the tasks with no assistance from the team and the team was only allowed to change the direction of the robot when it was in one of two corners of the table, they also had one opportunity to assist their robot during the two and a half minute run.
The WACO Rockets robotics team qualified for the FIRST LEGO League state competition which will be hosted at Hobart Arena in Troy on March 11 and 12.