Northshore Christian Academy's Robogators win big

NCA’s Robogators teams win both 1st and 2nd place at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Western Washington Qualifier Challenge
Jan 24, 2014
Northshore Christian Academy’s (NCA) Robogators Teams won both 1st and 2nd place at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) North Sound Regional, Western Washington Qualifier Challenge on Jan. 18 at Edmonds Heights K-12 School.

Northshore Christian Academy’s (NCA) Robogators Teams won both 1st and 2nd place at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) North Sound Regional, Western Washington Qualifier Challenge on Jan. 18 at Edmonds Heights K-12 School.

As a part of its focus on STEM Educational (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), in 2010 NCA collaborated with Boeing Engineers to provide a Robotics class to its middle school students.

In 2011, NCA began offering a Robotics Club to middle school students, which was aptly named NCA Robogators after NCA’s Alligator mascot.

The past three years, NCA Robogators teams have competed in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge. This year the FLL Challenge is 'Nature’s Fury'—Prepare. Stay Safe. Rebuild:  Innovative solutions when intense natural events meet the places where people live, work, and play. For more information, go to:

The NCA Robogators are included in around 100 teams that will progress to the Western Washington Semi-Finals at Jackson High School on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Approximately 20 teams will go onto Ellensburg, WA for the state finals. State finalists will compete internationally in St. Louis, MO.

This FLL Challenge Qualifier takes a full day and includes four parts:

• Robot Design Session—Students answer questions about a robot their team has designed and built and then show their robot in action.

• Presentation on Team Invention—Teams present their research and an invention that would help others during a natural disaster. NCA’s Robogators won this by focusing on a major volcanic eruption in Western Washington in which an ash storm could disable emergency vehicles.

They provided a display board and presented on their research and invention of a Cyclone Separator (like one would find in a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner) which would be attached to an emergency vehicle’s engine near its air filter and would remove even large amounts of ash from the engine intake, allowing the vehicle to operate unimpeded.

• Core Values—FLL’s Fundamental values are to encourage participants to learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

The teams were questioned on what the FLL meant to them and how it changed their lives in respect to gracious professionalism and cooperation. Then the teams were given a 7-minute surprise problem to collaborate on packing an emergency kit into a box of limited size, and prioritize the necessary items that would fit in the box (20 items provided). The Robogators aced this competition by articulating their decisions and ideas with each other and completing the problem on time!

• Table Competition—Perhaps the most exciting was the afternoon’s Robot Table Competition.  Teams prepared in advance by building their robots and then using a set of complicated and legalistic Engineering Specifications (Specs) provided by FLL.

They created a program for the movements of the robot and each mission the robot would perform (20 missions to choose from, with 2 to 35 points each). Specs for measured platform tables with 3-1/2 inch walls are used to run and perfect a series of these programmed missions. NCA Robogators robots were equipped with a light sensor to locate established black lines on the table which allowed the robot to get its bearings for each mission.

NCA’s Team 2 was at the top of the score board for the event the entire day and finished 2nd with a total of 358 points. Team 1 was at 41st place until the final round of the Table Competition. After practicing on a tabletop in the hallway, and some prayers being said, then came the final round. Team 1 executed the final run calmly and perfectly and finished 1st with a high score of 411 points for the day.

NCA Robogators teams begin meeting the first week of September, once a week for 3 hours and some Saturday sessions. The 2013/2014 NCA Robogators teams consisted of:

Team 1 (6 Students):  Jensen T., Max C., Grace J., Austin W., Gideon W., Daniel B.
(Adult Mentors: Mr. Jonathan Bloedow & Mr. Dave Chen, with support of Mr. Dan Bell)

Team 2 (5 Students):  Dimitri A., Jeremy P., Elias E., Khue Tu N., Gabe D.
(Adult Mentors:  Mr. David Bath, Mr. Chad Abramson, with support of Mr. Will Eakins & Mr. Bill Miller)

Mrs. Elise Abramson helped both Teams 1 & 2 with their display boards and presentations.

Northshore Christian Academy, located near the Everett Boeing Plant and the City of Mukilteo, is one of the fastest growing schools in Snohomish County. Northshore Christian Academy provides a high quality education in a Christ Centered environment for over 960 students through K-8th Grades and a Licensed Childcare for toddlers, preschool and pre-Kindergarten children.

Prospective family tours are given every Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. New family enrollment applications for 2014/2015 are being accepted Feb. 1. Please visit the NCA Website for more information at

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