Buchanan robotics team hosts elementary school robotics competition

(Photo by Destiny De La Cruz, Clovis Roundup) Competition table at First Lego League Qualifier at Alta Sierra

November 21, 2023 – Buchanan Bird Brains hosted their First Lego League Qualifier on Sunday, November 19th. The Buchanan Bird Brains are a high school robotics team that was established in 2004.

Since their start in 2004, the robotics team has won a World Championship title and seven regional Chairman’s awards, which is a title awarded to robotics teams with the greatest community impact.

Beyond their work building robotics, the Buchanan Bird Brains’ goal is to spread STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) awareness all over the Central Valley.

The Buchanan Bird Brains hosted the First Lego League Qualifier at Alta Sierra from 9am to 5pm on Sunday. It was the largest elementary school robotics competition that the Bird Brains have hosted since the pandemic.

36 elementary school robotics teams competed at the Qualifier, including a total of 212 students from 7 different cities.

According to their website, FIRST® LEGO® League, “introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 4-16* through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today’s students and teachers build a better future together,”

“Our three divisions inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.”

The first division, “Discover” is for ages 4 through 6. The second, “Explore” is for ages 6 through 10. And the third division, “Challenge” is for ages 9 through 16.

The First Lego League program was founded in 1998, and continues to grow. It’s a fun and engaging way for children to get involved in STEM at a young age.

FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the owner of LEGO Group Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen collaborated on the program.

“Dean and Kjeld have a shared belief that FIRST LEGO League inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology.

It was incredible to see what these children built, but what was just as incredible was seeing how excited and involved all of the team members were in both the practices and the competition itself.

These young robotics designers aren’t just learning how to create and operate robotics, they are also building confidence and working as a team.

The youth are our future, and in many ways, our future depends on STEM. First Lego League is a great way to encourage kids to build a future in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

To learn more, visit firstinspires.org and firstlegoleague.org

Destiny De La Cruz is a budding journalist with a passion for photojournalism. As a Fresno State alumni, she earned a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication & Journalism, the Film & Media Arts option with a minor in Anthropology. She has an interest in all things film, food, literature & outdoors.