Watching the video of these five members of the VS Middle School 6th grade Chattery Chinchillas sharing the energy of their song and their enthusiasm for their project makes it easy to see why they won the “Team Spirit” Award at the regional First Lego League event, and earned their way to State.

The team includes Brylee Bruce, Cameron Dawson-Fink, Annabelle Newton, Ashlie Meyer, Lizzie Noe, Aspen Ahrenholz, Alyssa Griffith, Autumn McGowan and Ian Allsup.
“This is an awesome group of kids with a ton of energy and a lot of motivation,” says teacher Jeff Mangold. “They are already preparing for state by working their presentation and programming new missions with the robot.”
The team impressed the judges with their knowledge of the chinchillas, a rabbit-like mammal native to South America that is often illegally hunted for its fur, which goes into a variety of clothing.
The theme of this year’s First Lego League is Animal Allies; in addition to programming and building a robot to accomplish a variety of tasks related to animal care, each team had to present an animal-related topic. chinchillas1
“They practiced their presentation many times,” says Mangold, who adds that the judges were impressed with the students’ presentation, as well as the knowledge they displayed in the Q and A session with the judges following their presentation.
Also, being the only team with their own song — which they repeated frequently — helped earn the team the special Team Spirit Award.
The team members will continue practicing a few times each week, working on making their robot more successful and adding to their knowledge of the chinchilla.