On December 10, Muscatine’s Lego team won the grand championship for the second year in a row.

The team competed in First Lego League Quad Cities Regional Qualifier at the Putnam Museum. The students have been preparing for the event since early September.

First Lego League consists of three main components. The students must design, build, and program a robot that performs missions while going through different obstacles. Everything, from the robot to the obstacle, is all built by Legos.

Teams gain points based off of how many obstacles their team completes. Teams are also judged on their robot design process.

Another portion of the competition is the project. Teams must choose a real-world problem and find a solution to it through research and interviews with professionals. This year, the team developed an awareness campaign and website that encourages people to test their drinking water for lead and then plot their results on a map that others can view.

The final part of the competition is the core values. Lego League has a very strong commitment to respect, good sportsmanship, and professionalism. Teams must display the core values to be eligible for awards.

Participation requirements limit teams to 10 kids between 9 and 14 years old. Each team must fulfill all the requirements for the three components of a competition in order to participate, including a robot, project, and core values.

The competition is open to anyone to make a team. Many teams are put together by schools, churches or clubs.

Muscatine’s team, named eagles, Eagles, EAGLES BOOM!, is a group of families who do this together. They meet at the coaches’ houses about three days per week. The kids set goals and milestones to prepare for competition, and they schedule extra practices if they decide they need them.

This is their third year together as a team. The team consists of Evan Franke, Gabby Steele, Jonah Simmering, Parker Green, Izzy Simpson, Nicole Bovenkamp, Sawyer Zeck, Kate Schlawin, Nathan Bovenkamp, and Tyler Ehrman. Everyone on the team is a 6th grader at either West, Central, or Wapello. The team is coached by Nathan Simmering, Jen Simmering, and Lauren Simmering.

Team member Parker Green says, “I like Lego League because it’s fun and I like to program the robot. I was glad when we won the award because I wanted to go to state, and I knew we put in hard work to go to state.”

The team won the Robot Performance Award with 270 points, which was the highest score by over 100 points. They also won the Championship Award, which means they were a well-rounded team in all areas of competition. The kids will participate in the state tournament at ISU on January 14. This is their third year at the state competition.