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Robo Dweebs Present Real-World Solutions Through LEGOs

Finding real-world solutions for real-world problems is the aim of Robo Dweebs #5501. In its tenth year as a program, Robo Dweebs is part of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge Program, an international robotics program teaching STEM skills and encouraging friendly competition and problem-solving.

Robo Dweebs is sponsored by the Two Harbors High School and is for students in grades 6-10. They design, create, and program a robot made of LEGOs, taking a real-world problem and finding a real-world solution for a research project presentation.

Lead Coach Jenna Udenberg says, “They design and present their engineering journey of goals, tasks, ideas, and iterations. They do all their work while exhibiting the core values of discovery, impact, innovation, teamwork, and fun! They learn and apply gracious professionalism while using ‘cooperition’ – cooperating while competing. We want every team to do their very best.”

Robo Dweebs gives and takes by being mentored by older teams, and themselves mentoring younger teams. Participants are challenged to grow in new ways and work with others.

The regional competition is Saturday, December 3rd at Hermantown Middle School. The competition is free and open for the public to view. Robo Dweebs will be in the morning wave, from 8am-12pm, presenting in Design and Project, and being judged on their core values throughout the day, as well as for completing four robot runs.

I asked three of the Robo Dweebs team members a few questions about Robo Dweebs and why they enjoyed it. Erik Gischia, 8th grade, has been in Robo Dweebs for three years. Lilly Johansen, 7th grade, has been in Robo Dweebs for two years, and Landon Latvala, 7th grade, is in his first year of Robo Dweebs.

What do you like best about Robo Dweebs?

Erik: Some of my favorite things about being part of this team is having the privilege to work with a big group of creative people, work with amazing robots and technology, and be able to work in two different spaces within our school that we can adapt to make our team be able to do our best work.

My time on this team has been a blast and to my surprise each of the three years I have spent on this team has been entirely different and unique. I have greatly enjoyed being able to have such a wonderful experience that I could not have gotten anywhere else. I now have a plethora of great information and knowledge that will benefit me into my future. And none of this could have even been remotely possible without the tireless efforts of my coach, Ms. U, putting up with all of my completely random questions, ideas, and requests and keeping up with the team to make sure we get everything done and stay on task.

Lilly: All the friendships I have made.

Landon: My favorite part about Robo Dweebs is definitely just being with my friends and working on a project together. Although we are usually on task, the moments we don’t have work to do and are able to make jokes and talk without worrying about completing our tasks is my favorite part about being on the team.

What is one thing you have learned in Robo Dweebs that will help you in life?

Erik: I have to say that the Robo Dweebs team setting has really helped me learn how to collaboratively work together with a group of people to create and build the things we have been working towards. My time on the team has also grown my knowledge, interest, and experience working with computers, robots, and other various technologies that I would not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise.

Lilly: How to collaborate with a big group of people, how to deal with stress, how to put thoughts into a plan into action.

Landon: I think that the main thing I’ve learned in Robo Dweebs that will help me in life would be learning to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal.

Would you recommend Robo Dweebs? Why?

Erik: I would recommend joining the team to other kids that have a good work ethic and have the willingness and excitement to learn new things. I have had a great time working with the people on the current and past teams that I wouldn’t have known or talked to on a daily basis and I have also enjoyed working with coaches, mentors, and younger members on our team. If you are interested in possibly joining the team, be prepared to get the creative ideas flowing, be productive, work together, and have a great time.

Lilly: Yes, you can be a part of a team and learn how to work with other people, and also see how you impact your team and the environment that you work in.

Landon: Yes, I would recommend joining Robo Dweebs to other kids who enjoy working with technology and/or wish to learn and try new things. I personally find being on the Robo Dweebs team to be fun and I have learned a lot about technology and communicating with others from it. Even if you aren’t good at certain things relating to what we do on Robo Dweebs, such as programming, building the robot and its attachments, or even something like writing emails, there are plenty of roles on the team that you could fill, provided that you are able to work hard and complete your tasks. Plus, you will probably learn a lot of things from being on the team.

Lizzy Radke has been a teammate, team helper, and now mentors the Robo Dweebs. She says, “I was on the team for a couple years prior to being a mentor. I wanted to stay involved in the program and help give this wonderful opportunity to more kids. One of the best parts of being a mentor is being around the team itself. The kids on the team are smart, funny, hardworking people who like to have fun. It’s such a positive environment to be in.”

Interested in learning more about joining Robo Dweebs? Contact Jenna Udenberg at judenberg@isd381.org. Happy programming to the Robo Dweebs as they head off to competition!

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