Two teams from Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) were recognized for their entries at the FIRST LEGO Expo robotics competition. The NBCF teams competed against sighted teams of elementary and high school students from local schools and clubs. NBCF is the only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of visually impaired children, ages 0-22.
The recent event was hosted by FIRST Nevada, a nonprofit organization promoting FIRST® Robotics programs and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education initiatives in Nevada.
The ‘Buggy Builders’ NBCF team – comprised of Carly Lamb, 17, Nicholas “Nico” Felixon, 18, Taylor Allison, 16, and Paul Hernandez, 14 – competed in the FIRST® Tech Challenge against more than 15 teen groups. Teams were challenged to design, build, program and operate robots. The competition featured timed challenges that included balancing on a platform, maneuvering around objects in the play field, and selecting and carrying items. After 13 rounds of challenges, the Buggy Builders took home the ‘Motivate’ award.
The ‘Awesome Kids’ NBCF team – comprised of Kristlynn Allison, 9, and Rocco Berenato, 10 – competed against more than 30 elementary school teams. The pair shared their LEGO® creation through the FIRST Lego League Jr. program. Using the Aqua Adventures model through LEGO®, they researched a real-world topic – where water comes from and its use in daily life – to design and build a model using LEGO® elements that included a motorized part. The Awesome Kids took home the ‘Explosive Ideas’ award.
“Members of our teams developed science, technology engineering and math (STEM) skills and practiced engineering principles, like keeping an engineering notebook, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas,” explained NBCF Program Coordinator Briana Philippi. “These students have worked so hard during the past few months, and they were rewarded at the competition on Saturday with meaningful awards that reinforced their interest in STEM concepts.”
The LEGO Robotics program is just one of the many programs offered through Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation’s After-School Adventures that features a variety of life-skills, literacy, and educational programs free of charge. Teams meet every week from September through May, and compete in the local competitions against sighted teams.
“In addition to the valuable skills our students gain, they really enjoy the challenge and comradery, and have set their sights on the next robotics competition,” said Philippi.
About Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation
Founded in 2006, by Kevin and Toni Spilsbury, Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) is the only non-profit organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of children, ages 0-22, who are visually impaired in Southern Nevada. NBCF provides comprehensive services for children and their families including: advocacy, family support, employment and life skills training, education, adaptive recreation, and health services.
Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation’s programs and services are provided through the generous support of individual and corporate donors. For more information about Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation visit www.nvblindchildren.org.