Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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November 15, 2013

Flood drive

Emmet Belknap Robot Rockers prepare for Lego robotics; tackle flooding preparedness

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A group of Emmet Belknap Intermediate kids want people to be prepared for natural disasters, such as the massive flood Lockport suffered back in June. 

Being prepared for nature’s fury is the theme for this year’s edition of the FIRST Lego League. And Emmet’s Robot Rockers are getting ready for their first qualifier competition to be held Nov. 23 in Webster.

FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” an organization that introduces students to professional engineers and mentors to promote science and technology education. The FIRST Lego program is a middle school age competition that gets kids into robotics by building a Lego robot and solving a real-life problem.

The problem the Rockers chose was how to prepare for a flood, a decision based on the fact most of the kids saw firsthand the June flood that caused an estimated $7.2 million in damage to the city, said Cherie Anterline, a teacher aide at Emmet who coaches the Rockers with technology teacher Michael Lieber.

This year was different, however, as the kids had a little more to do. They are putting together a skit that will solve this problem.

And they are building not one, not two, but three robots. The robots have a number of different “missions” they’ll have to carry out in two-and-a-half minute matches in order to score points.

In addition to the skit, the kids are putting together an “app” for a cell phone or computer. The app will help younger kids understand how to prepare for a flood, said Kyle Phelps, 11. The app tells kids how to put together an emergency preparedness kit, complete with extra batteries, a flashlight, plastic gloves, canned food, water, a can opener and a radio.

“It’ll help them understand better how to make a kit, what to use, what not to use, “ he said.

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