Eagle Valley Middle School's First Lego League Jedi Engineers Headed to World Championship Finals in Houston

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Greg Bortolin
775.687.9201
Carson City, NV - March 20, 2017

March Madness has hit Eagle Valley Middle School in Carson City. No, not basketball, but its Robotics team.

Eagle Valley’s Jedi Engineers FIRST LEGO League Team won the Northern Nevada FIRST LEGO League Championship and is now headed to the World Championship finals in Houston in April. They have also been invited to compete in Bath, England this summer.

“Cheering on these great students in Carson City is a wonderful way to celebrate the coordinated work that is occurring in Nevada around advanced automation and robotics,” said Karsten Heise, Director of Technology Commercialization with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Eagle Valley’s Jedi Engineers beat out 47 other teams at the Northern Nevada FIRST LEGO League Championship held earlier this year at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“What’s so great about how this team won is that in the previous competition, their robot failed and they entered the UNR competition as an alternate with a new robot they built,” said Lisa Stocke-Koop, the STEM Lab Facilitator who coached three robotics teams at Eagle Valley Middle School this year. “Four of the members on the team went to a National Championship in LEGOLAND in sixth grade and they set a goal to advance past the Northern Nevada Championship Tournament. They’ve been working on this project since the second week of school and it just blows my mind how hard they all work.”

The FIRST LEGO League embraces a set of core values that include friendly competition and teamwork. Teams are judged on how well they demonstrate their core values, the depth of their research project and a robot competition. The Eagle Valley team research project focused on animals and animal allies, looking closely at population control in no-kill shelters and how to manage the animal population more effectively. They built an adaptable dog kennel with a rope and pulley system that adjusts the size and dimensions as needed to best serve the kennel population. Students must then be able to effectively communicate their problem and solution to a judging panel.

“This project has evolved from card board to Plexiglas, wood and other materials through the course of the competitions this year,” said Stocke-Koop, a Google certified Educator. “In the robotics competition, students are required to design, build and write the code that will enable it to successfully accomplish the missions on the field mat."

The team is currently fund-raising for their upcoming competitions in Houston and England. They have a GoFundMe page online. Anyone interested in contributing should contact Stocke-Koop at Eagle Valley Middle School. All donations should clearly note that they are designated for the robotics team.

Eagle Valley’s Jedi Engineers exemplifies the workforce development focus of Governor Brian Sandoval to meet the needs of Nevada’s changing economy. Nevada was one of 10 states that each received $2 million workforce development grants in January from JPMorgan Chase & Co. The grant is aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill, well-paying careers.

An unprecedented coalition of stakeholders came together to apply for this grant including the Nevada Department of Education; the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation; the Nevada System of Higher Education; the Office of Workforce Innovation; the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Other key partners include the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, Faraday Future, Click Bond, Inc. and Tesla.

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