Keokuk County Lego Studs Advance to STATE Competition


For the second year in a row the Lego Studs will advance to the State FLL (First Lego League) competition at Iowa State University, College of Engineering.  The team placed 2ndout of nearly 40 teams that were registered at the regional tournament held at Indian Hills Community College on December 7th. 
This year’s theme is Nature’s Fury and the Lego Studs focused on Tornado Safety for their Project presentation.  They decided it would be beneficial to talk to someone who had experienced a natural disaster first hand and remembered the community of Parkersburg, IA had endured an EF-5 tornado (wind speed reached 205 MPH) in 2008 that demolished 1/3 of their town.  This community is very similar in size and demographics to Sigourney.  On October 18ththe team traveled to Parkersburg to meet face to face with their Sheriff, City Clerk and Public Works employee, Emergency Management Director and Aplington-Parkersburg’s School Superintendent. 
From this research the team created the Twister Tamer.  This 5.5’ X 7.5’ blanket has 4 layers that are made of neon orange canvas, denim, Kevlar (material used in bullet proof vests and is 5 times stronger than steel) and micro-fleece.  There are pockets sewn on the inside to fill with a crank up weather radio, whistle, flashlight and other necessary items and handles were sewn on all four sides to hold the blanket down.  The blanket folds up into its duffle bag for easy home or vehicle storage making it convenient to be prepared when needed. 
This blanket is designed to protect against small flying debris including shards of glass during a storm with high winds. Parkersburg’s Sheriff, Jason Johnson, explained, “During the tornado the small debris was flying so fast that it blasted off the oil spots on concrete driveways”. Coach Allan Glandon and the Sigourney Police Department helped with testing the durability of the blanket materials.  It was shot with a BB traveling at the speed of 327 MPH and it did not penetrate through.  Coach Shellie Striegel commented, “The time the Parkersburg City Leaders took with the team was the most valuable part of this year’s season.  We contacted them to see if they would be willing to meet with us and they graciously helped us out.  I hope the kids will build upon this experience in their futures”.
FLL implemented a rule change this year that teams must score high in all three categories to advance to the State competition (1.Robot challenge, 2.Project Presentation and 3.Core Values/Teamwork).  You could not receive an award in one category and go on, instead they were looking for teams that were well rounded.
If you have questions or are interested in your child participating in Lego League please contact Michele Sieren at the Keokuk County Extension office at 622-2680.
State competition will be held on January 18th.
Article written by Shellie Striegel – Lego Studs Leader

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