Jefferson Middle School FIRST Lego League Celebrates Success

February 17, 2017

Three robotics teams from Jefferson Middle School competed in the FIRST Lego League East Tennessee State Championship at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn., on February 11, 2017. To compete in the state championship, teams must first qualify at either the Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, or Johnson City competitions. The Atomic Eagles, JMS Master Builders, and RadioActive Brix all qualified in Knoxville on December 3, 2016, at Hardin Valley Academy.

The Radioactive Brix
The Atomic Eagles 
JMS Master Builders

The Radioactive Brix (team #3131) finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 90 and won 2nd place in mechanical design. Members are: Johnny Clark, Grace Godfrey, Christopher Gorsuch, Ethan Holland, Colby Lawson, Josh Shubert, and Chrystalleni White. The team coach is Norma Franco. The team mentor is Justin Holland.

The Atomic Eagles (team #336) finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 110 and won the 3rd place overall Champions Award. Members are: Ben Dallas, Lindsey Fiscor, Bethany Marshall, Amelie Nagle, Levi Parish, Brian Qu, and Alex Shanafield. The team coaches are Janie Shanafield and David Hundermark. The team mentor is Harold Shanafield.

The Master Builders (team #3132) finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 204 and won the 1st place overall Champion's Award. They received the Global Innovation Award from the East Tennessee FIRST LEGO League Championship. The Master Builders will represent Jefferson Middle school and the state of Tennessee at the FIRST LEGO World Championships in Houston, Texas, on April 19-22, 2017. Team members are: Matthew Alexander, Adam Blanchard, Jessica Mohr, Stella Scott, Thora Spence, and Amelia Thomson. The team coach is Lexie Scott. Dr. Jeff Thomson is also a mentor/coach.

FIRST Lego League began in 1999 and sponsors international competitions for 9-14 year old students. World Championships are held each spring, and teams from over 50 countries compete in the areas of research, robot design, robot performance and Core values. Core values presentations demonstrate how the team has incorporated the eight core values set forth by FIRST into their team and life as a middle school student.

Research projects are based on the yearly FIRST Lego League theme. This year’s theme is “Animal Allies.” Each team spent months researching and developing a project that will improve the quality of life for animals. The Atomic Eagles research project was “Deer vehicle crash prevention.” Master Builders’ project was titled “Engineering bioplastics to save wild life.” The RadioActive Brix’s project was “Keeping animals safe during an evacuation.” Each team went before judges to present ideas with a skit and answer questions about the project.

Robot Design is a judging session in which team members describe their robot and Lego Mindstorms EV3 programs to judges. Team members are given an opportunity to explain why and how they built their robot, what the robot does, and share any special elements that they have learned and incorporated into their robot over the course of the season. 

The Robot Game consists of three 2 minute, 30 second rounds. Each team’s robot must navigate obstacles and perform tasks on the board. Students spend months designing, building, and programming their robot.

Find more information about the robot game and the other components of FIRST Lego League at