Local News

February 5, 2014

Through stranded ‘cats’ and ‘tsunamis,’ local students excel in Lego competition

PG-13, a robot made mostly out of Lego blocks, gets its name for two reasons.

It’s an abbreviation for Pleasant Grove Elementary School 2013, the location and year of its creation. And, as fifth-grader Karle Wright explained, “he’s dangerous” and violent like a PG-13 movie.

“He accidentally killed the cat so many times,” she said.

Before any worried parents call the school they should know the aforementioned cat isn’t real. It was a stuffed animal PG-13 had to save from a model tree in a small scale rescue simulation played out on a Lego table.

And even though the simulation often ended with the cat crushed or thrown, the students “finally figured out how to save him,” student Kyle Felker, 11, said.

Pleasant Grove students in Amy Zock’s gifted class created Lego robots like PG-13 to compete in the Georgia First Lego League at the Georgia Institute of Technology last month, where they placed 11th in the state. The students were recognized with certificates given by members of the Whitfield County Schools Board of Education at their Monday night meeting.

To qualify for the state contest, the students had to win a regional competition at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy and three super-regional contests in Acworth. The competition brought in 2,500 elementary and middle students from across the state, according to the contest website (https://fll-ceismc.gatech.edu/home?destination=node/1).

“We did pretty good,” student Andy Menendez, also 11, said with a big grin. “We’re pretty proud of it. Actually, it’s embarrassing. Just a little bit. I don’t know why.”

The theme of the competition was countering the disastrous power of nature. Students had to brainstorm ways to use robotics in small scale disasters on Lego tables.

“There was a tsunami mission where you had to go and push all the water off into the lake with one of our robots,” student Connor Johnson, 11, said. “It’s exciting. It felt really good — especially it being our first year doing this — to get to move on as far as we did. We won against some middle school kids and we are fifth-graders.”

Another scenario had the students trying to rescue an abandoned Lego man they dubbed “Little Kyle” after Kyle’s likeness.

“We couldn’t really reach him with our robots, so we quit trying,” Kyle said, sad that his Lego twin was “lost” during a storm.

Zock said her students “really enjoyed” the competition and learned the ins and outs of programming a robot. Each Lego creation in the contest had to be autonomous, running on computer directions and not controlled remotely.

“It was pretty cool,” Kyle said of his overall experience.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014