Photo by Erica Techo.
The Variables, from left, Toby Conn, Noah Warren and Jaye Conn, are going to the First LEGO League Robotics World Festival in April.
The Variables, a group of three Altamont students, are gearing up for the First LEGO League Robotics World Festival.
Hoover residents Toby Conn and Jaye Conn teamed up with their classmate Noah Warren for the First LEGO League Challenge, placing first at the State Championship in December.
At the state competition, the students received the first place Champions Award, which recognizes the team that embodies the FLL core values. Teams that do not follow the core values end up getting points deducted, Noah said.
“I think that’s a main part of how we won the state competition — we were really nice to all the teams,” Toby said.
This year’s theme is Trash Trek, and teams are asked to build and program a robot in order to complete certain challenges. Aside from the robot competition, teams must come up with a project that fits that year’s theme. The Variables decided to take on K-Cups. While they started with brainstorming repurposing K-Cups, which are not biodegradable, they decided to take the project one step further and reached out to the CEO of Keurig, Brian Kelly.
“We had to dig down deep into K-Cup’s website to find the sustainability plan,” Jaye said. “When we found it, they were trying to make a 100 percent recyclable K-Cup by 2020, and that’s a pretty long way off.”
The Variables did not want to wait, Jaye said, so they created a video asking Kelly to move up the date of a completely recyclable K-Cup. After sending the video, they received a response from Kelly saying he would fly their team and their parents to the location where they are working on sustainability plans.
“It’s kind of awesome because you can just think, ‘What else can we do?’ We’re probably going to have way more opportunities to do stuff,” Toby said.
The international competition will be from April 27 through April 30 in St. Louis.
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