B-Town Girl-Bots for the Win

By Anna Maria Viterisi

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The B-Town Girl-Bots, a fifth- and sixth- grade Girl Scout troop from Clear Creek Elementary School in Bloomington, Ind., received second place for their project, Senior Solutions, in the presentation portion at the 2013 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Indiana Championship Tournament in Ft. Wayne, Ind. on Dec. 14.

Out of the 200 FLL teams in the state, 52 teams participated in the design of solutions to a current scientific question, and built LEGO robots that performed a series of missions related to the problem. The 2013 FLL Indiana Championship Tournament theme was named “Nature’s Fury,” where students explored the effects of natural disasters.

The B-Town Girl-Bots LEGO robot offered an inventive solution to flash floods. Their robot consisted of an underwater emergency car kit that included an inflatable vest and an instrument to cut the seatbelt for an easy escape. Coached by Susan and Bart Bretsch, Lisa Rodgers and Carlene Quinn, the girls talked to the judges about their research project, teamwork, and the programming and design of their LEGO robot.

The FLL Tournament is more than just playing with LEGO robots; the program encouraged the B-Town Girl-Bots to seek innovative possibilities and grow more confident in their technical abilities.

“Working with the robot took the stigma away—the idea that technology is just for boys,” stated Carlene Quinn, the Girl Scout troop leader. “The CEWiT launch also gave the girls the opportunity to engage with technology, and they truly enjoyed themselves.”

The team's experience at the CEWiT launch last October left a resonating impact on the girls, who mentioned the event to the FLL judges during their project presentation portion.

Quinn explains that the Girl Scout troop recognized their minority standing amongst the boys at the FLL Championship Tournament, but felt proud of their position. Just three years ago, only one all-girl team presented at the FLL Indiana Championship Tournament, compared to the multiple all-girl teams qualified for the 2013 FLL Championship Tournament.

As science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects continue to be prioritized by the Girl Scout of America, more girls will be given the opportunity explore the world of technology and compete in IndianaFirst competitions.

The B-Town Girl-Bots were recognized for their achievement by Monroe County Community School Corporation school board on Tuesday, Jan. 28, for a Celebration of Success.