Linn County 4-H FIRST LEGO League Challenge Teams Advance to State

Two Linn County 4-H FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams competed in qualifier competitions on December 9 and December 17. FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program that “introduces science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to children ages 4-16 through fun, exciting hands-on learning” (firstinspires.org).

Linn County 4-H hosts two Challenge teams, which is for youth in grades four through eight. Challenge teams are composed of ten youth and two 4-H volunteer coaches who work together to design and code a robot to complete missions. The second component of the program is to identify a problem of the team’s choosing, research and create a solution to that problem, and then present their “innovation project” to judges.

Both of the Linn County 4-H teams, “Blue Bunny Republic” and “Thunder Chickens,” won the overall Champions Award at their respective qualifiers, where they competed against fifteen other teams. The Linn County 4-H teams are moving onto the State Championships, which take place at the end of January at the ISU College of Engineering in Ames.

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Lego league students celebrating with their awards

Each Linn County 4-H team has received financial support from outside organizations. The Blue Bunny Republic is supported by the Mariah Becker Volunteer Leadership Award, which was awarded to Ethan Strecker (FLL graduate) in 2022 for mentoring the FLL team in the off-season. The Thunder Chickens are sponsored by a Raytheon Technologies grant, which is awarded to employees that are FLL coaches or mentors. Brian Dugan received the company sponsored team grant this year.

For more information on the Linn County 4-H Youth Development program, please contact the Linn County ISU Extension and Outreach office.