Middle School LEGO Robotics Team Advances to State Championship

Middle school students are packing their bags and heading to James Madison University in December for the state championships after taking home two honors in the First Lego League Regional Tournament on Nov. 11.


Students Marah Gordon ’22, Stanley Synenko ’22, Patrick Howlett ’23, Sarah Morrow ’23, Logan Pausch ’23, Sarah Bartlett ’24 and Liam Burkey ’24 won Best Robotic Performance and Best Project in the tournament held at Norview High School. The team will now advance to the First Lego League VA-DC State Championship on Dec. 2 and 3 at James Madison University.


In addition to demonstrating their knowledge of design, engineering and programming, students were responsible for representing their team in a core values exercise, explaining why they chose a particular design for the robot and various attachments. The project revolved around problem-based learning with each team being challenged to find a problem with the human water cycle, design an innovative solution and share the solution with others.


They won Best Robotic Performance (missions on the Robotics Table) and Best Project by diverting greywater from kitchen sinks to a rain barrel for use in watering lawns and gardens.


The team practiced an hour and a half four days a week since the first day of school. Assisting the students were middle school science teacher Claire Fornsel, Coach Skip Morrow and supportive parents. The team wants to extend their most sincere appreciation to Coach Morrow for steering their practices toward success in the weeks leading up to the competition.


“We’re really excited to go to the state championships,” says sixth-grade student Liam Burkey. “It’s a bigger competition, so we get to meet lots of new teams and see what they bring to the table.”