Great young minds from across Ontario explore robotic skills at UOIT

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Elementary students tackle strategies on how to prepare for natural disasters


Hundreds of future scientists and engineers from across the province gathered at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) January 18 to delve into real-world scientific issues through a series of robotics-based challenges. Children aged nine-to-14 put their collective math and science skills to the test as UOIT played host to the annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Ontario East provincial championships.


FIRST is an acronym that means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The FLL competition encourages students to delve into real-world scientific issues and apply their knowledge to research, design, build and program autonomous robots using LEGO Mindstorms software. More than 20,000 teams compete annually in the FLL around the globe.


Teams of students applied math and science concepts to research, design, build and program autonomous robots, with this year’s challenge focusing on Nature’s Fury. Competitors explored innovative solutions to help people prepare, stay safe, or rebuild. Robotic missions included such considerations as severe weather conditions, emergency vehicles, evacuations, cargo planes, fallen obstacles and reconstruction.


All teams then had to develop specific solutions, present their ideas for the judges, and program their robot to conduct a variety of related tasks. They were judged in three categories:


  • Project presentation
  • Teamwork, with a consideration of the FLL Core Values
  • Technical design, programming and performance of the robot


“The teams that came to UOIT earned their spot at the championship after taking part in practice tournaments and one of 22 regional qualifying events,” said Dave Ellis, Director, FLL Ontario. “The judges were impressed by the students’ preparation and by how well they competed in the high-pressure environment of the final competitions, especially the timed robotic challenges. All parents and teacher-coaches should be very proud of their students’ achievements and commitment to FLL’s mission: to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders.”


Four teams qualified for first-ever FLL International Open in Canada taking place in Toronto, Ontario in June.


FLL Ontario East awards list:


  • Champion’s Award (1st place), sponsored by UOIT– Ctrl-Z* (Bayview Glen School, Toronto)
  • Champion’s Award (2nd place), sponsored by SYNNEX Canada – iGo* (Bayview Glen School, Toronto)
  • Champion’s Award (3rd place), sponsored by Yves Landry Foundation – Black Out* (Community Team, Toronto)
  • Innovation and Strategy Award, sponsored by Ontario Power Generation – CyberJazz (Oscar Peterson P.S., Stouffville)
  • Presentation Award – F.I.T. (Regent Heights P.S., Toronto)
  • Teamwork Award – RSGC Dragons (Royal St. George’s College, Toronto)
  • Programming Award – Techno Lightning (Bowmore P.S., Toronto)
  • Innovative Solution Award – Princess Margaret Panther Bots (Princess Margaret P.S., Niagara Falls)
  • Inspiration Award – Rescue Heroes (Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Ottawa)
  • Mechanical Design Award – Robomanians (Robomanians, Woodbridge)
  • Research Award – LEGO Lords (Lester B. Pearson, P.S., Aurora)
  • Gracious Professionalism Award – Robo Girls 3.0 (Charles Gordon P.S., Toronto)
  • Playoff Award – Robomanians (Robomanians, Woodbridge)
  • Judges’ Award – Typhoon S.H.I.E.L.D.* (Glen Ames Sr. P.S., Toronto)
  • Robot Performance 1st Place Award – RSGC Dragons (Royal St. George’s College, Toronto)
  • Rising Star – Millennium Robotics (St. Thomas Aquinas C.H.S., Ottawa)
  • Coach of the Year – Eric Borromeo, CTRL-Z (Bayview Glen School, Toronto)
  • Young Adult Mentor – Olivia Torenzio, Typhoon S.H.I.E.L.D. (Glen Ames Sr. P.S., Toronto)


*Qualifying teams for FLL International Open in Toronto, Ontario from June 4 to 7.


UOIT will also play host to the FIRST Robotics Canada (FRC) Greater Toronto East Regional championships for high school students from March 6 to 8.


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