TRI-CITIES, Wash. — A all-girl group from Tri-Cities will advance to World Championships after the annual FIRST Lego League Championship for Eastern Washington was held February 4. The Intelligent Mademoiselles are a local team of fourth through sixth grade girls from different Tri-Cities schools that will travel to Houston, Texas to represent Washington.
Each year, FIRST creates a challenge based on real-world problems for students to solve as a team in two parts, the Robot Game and the Project. It’s designed toward preparing participants to be leaders in STEM, “by approaching robotics as a team sport rather than a classroom subject,” according to FIRST Washington.
“This is called FLL, FIRST Lego league,” said Intelligent Mademoiselle and fifth-grade student at Lewis and Clark Elementary Bianca Zink. “It is robotics mixed with Legos, and you build robots, you research an innovation project and you get to learn new things.”
FIRST Washington holds a championship on the west side and the east side, so kids don’t have to travel over the pass. This season’s championship theme is Super Powered.
The Intelligent Mademoiselles built a “Roof Rover,” which cleans the solar panels used in the team’s experiment. The Benton REA funded two solar panels for the team to use. It is equipped with a paint roller for cleaning, a squeegee for drying in the back and treads to drive on.
“We did a bunch of work on coding and building robots…” said Intelligent Mademoiselle and sixth-grade Enterprise Middle School student Lucy Cramer. “We conducted an experiment with solar panels and measuring volts and amps.”
The team was chosen in a lottery against advancing teams on the west side, putting them in the FIRST Lego League World Championships in April. There are 40,000 FIRST Lego teams in the world; the Intelligent Mademoiselles will compete against 108.
“I feel very proud that we’ve been able to come all the way to World [championships], as in past years we have made it to State, just never to World,” said Intelligent Mademoiselle and sixth-grade Enterprise Middle School student Samviti Prasad.
The team also includes fifth-grade student at Orchard Elementary Emily Krahenbuhl, sixth-grade student at Enterprise Middle School Aditri Prasad and fourth-grade student at White Bluffs Elementary Kaitlyn Gibson, along with the aforementioned three.
“I love coding, I love the trial-and-error process, making things work, editing them, fixing them,” said Zink.