Apollo 50

We WON! 🙂

This was an amazing summer experience for the girls. We were the only all girls team in the competition.

They spent about 10 weeks from early May to mid July learning about drone piloting and perfecting their robot programming skills. Weekly meetings were supplemented by long Saturdays in the pursuit of success. Costumes were planned, the lunar lander was built and rebuilt and rebuilt, communication strategies were established, programming efficiencies were discovered and a new trick was even learned at the last minute.

The challenge had 3 parts as well as creative components :

  • Fly a drone carrying a lunar module, drop it off in the landing zone and fly the drone back to base. The drone pilot is flying blind as mission control does from Earth. The technician “on the moon” gave verbal commands to the pilot.
  • Replace the lunar module with a Lego robot rover. Complete missions on the lunar surface. Deliver payload to drop zone, move a boulder, retrieve a moon rock and return the moon rock to the landing zone. Again, the rover pilot is blind and relying on the astronaut on the moon to give clear commands. The rover pilot had some pre-written programs, but many had to be coded on the fly based on verbal commands from the astronaut.
  • Identify a moon rock sample and give 4 facts about the rock

The girls did really well, and they won the middle school division of the Montana Regional NASA Apollo Next Giant Leap challenge. Their Marvin the Martian “Lunar Loonies” themed costumes, lander, robot and narrations were surely crowd pleasers.

We always say in FLL “what we learn is more important than what we win.” This is so true. Before we knew we won, we were so proud of the girls for the commitment they put in over their summer vacation and how much they grew in their confidence, communication and technical skills.

In November we’ll get to enjoy the prize for their hard work. We are going to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, FL. The girls are super excited to go behind the scenes at NASA and hope to meet an astronaut or two.

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