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IV students not just playing with Legos


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Iowa Valley students Thad Megchelsen, left, and Jacob Schmieder test their robot they built for the First Lego League competition to be held Saturday, Dec. 12.

Five Iowa Valley students are getting ready to compete in the First Lego League competition to be held at Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Saturday, Dec. 12.

Chloe Gerard, Abby Hall, Elisabeth Hocamp, Thad Megchelsen, Jacob Schmieder and Marissa Ward, members of the team Federal Brick Investigators under the tutelage of  IV math teacher Tom Megchelsen, will participate in the competition for the second year.

The robotic competition requires the team to bump, move, deliver and retrieve objects on a table using a robot they built with Legos and the programmable NXT brick. This year’s topic is “smart move.”

The group also must answer technical questions about their robot, show how they worked together as a team and give a PowerPoint presentation about how finding safe routes for Iowa Valley students to walk to school.

“Using results from a survey, we made a graph showing how kids go to and from school,” said Hocamp. “We also came up with solutions, such as build more sidewalks, encourage drivers to watch out for kids, get more crossing guards and make the drop off and pick up zone one way.”

Hall said they also designed a map that shows all of the streets in Marengo that do not have sidewalks.

Thad Megchelsen said the contest is a lot different this year, but with last year’s experience under their belt, he said they should perform better this Saturday.

He said they have been working on redesigning their Lego robot to maneuver the course better.

“I think we will do better than last year,” Thad said.

UPDATED December 10, 2009 11:32 AM

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