Iowa County 4-H'ers Are Top 3 Finalists in FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award Competition

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa -- With a game of "Cyclone Survivor," a team of Iowa County 4-H'ers has been named as a top three finalist in the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award competition.

Robotic RaidersThe Robotic Raiders from Williamsburg, Iowa, will receive their award June 3 in Alexandria, Va and find out if they are first, second or third place winners. The top prize is $20,000 and may be used to further develop their invention. Their project has a provisional patent in place and was among 547 applications from across the world. Not bad for group of sixth and seventh graders in only their second year as a FIRST LEGO League team.

After visiting with their local county sheriff and researching online resources, the Robotic Raiders decided to focus on helping elementary students learn how to be prepared for tornadoes. They developed Cyclone Survivor, an educational board game that uses federal and local information to educate players on how to prepare for, survive and recover from a tornado. The game includes challenge cards with multiple choice questions to answer and chance cards that send players forward or backward on the board. The object of the game is to collect miniature emergency gear to place in the player’s emergency kit. The player with the most gear at the end of the game wins. The Robotic Raiders note that Cyclone Survivor would be a great interactive tool that could be added to any school's curriculum. It also can be customized to help students learn about other natural disasters such as ice storms, earthquakes or hurricanes.

“We are so proud of these young men and their coaches for all of their efforts, and we wish them luck in June. They have worked hard and learned so much as a team," said Tricia Stouder, regional youth program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Education in science, technology, engineering and math -- known as STEM -- is part of the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, Stouder explained.

"STEM education like FIRST LEGO League is a natural fit for 4-H. Hands-on education is how youth learn best, and it is how youth determine their interests for the future,” Stouder said.

The Robotic Raiders are Eli and Tanner Berger, sons of Shelley and Craig Berger; Clint Jones, son of Kathy and Eric Jones; Nick Marovets, son of Alison and Brian Marovets; Mitchell Miner, son of Laura and Jeremy Miner; Jacob Mohr, son of Marci and John Mohr; Nick Rotter, son of Kim and Corey Roberts and Robert Rotter; and Kaiden Royster, son of Jess and David Griggs and Matt Royster.

Team coaches are parents Laura Miner and Shelley Berger and Iowa County 4-H Youth Coordinator Mary Veatch.

Watch the video of the Robotic Raiders learning that they had made the top three in the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award competition:


[PHOTO] Robotic Raiders

Left to right, front row -- Kaiden Royster, Clint Jones, Mitchell Miner, Eli Berger, Jacob Mohr; back row – coach Mary Veatch, Nick Rotter, Tanner Berger, Nick Marovets, coach Laura Miner