Refried Beans leads Grafton robotics program to state finals

(ABOVE PHOTO) MEMBERS OF the Grafton School District FIRST LEGO League Challenge team Refried Beans are (front row, from left) Matthew Eippert, Zach Bigler, Liam Wall, Ellana O’Connor, Elli Leffingwell, (back row) coaches Katie Eippert and Jason Leffingwel, Aiden Kaestner and coach Tim O’Connor. Coach Rebecca Ramirez is not pictured. (Below in Article) MEMBERS OF TEAM I Am Up To No Good (right photo) are (front row, from right) Ben Krick, Ben Rusch, (back row) Ada Nestler, Henry Hogsett, Collin Wisth, Lilah Stahura, Kellen Siebert and Genevieve Riley. Members of Random Engineers (left photo) are (front, from left) Shaunak Chaudhuri, Jakob Nestler, (middle row) Mason Rygg, Will Riley, (back row) Aiden Werdin, Michael Pan, Sam Pekarske and Tanner Paque.


The FIRST LEGO League Challenge robotics program has exploded in the Grafton School District and now two teams, whose names are almost as clever as their robots, are headed to the state championship.

Refried Beans earned a spot among the top teams in Wisconsin at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge semifinals on Dec. 10 and will compete for the state championship in Madison on Feb. 4.

Team I Am Up To No Good earned an alternate spot for the state competition.

Random Engineers earned an alternate spot for the sectionals but did not advance.

The district’s program has grown from two teams last school year to five this year and includes 38 students in fifth through eighth grades.

FIRST LEGO League is intended to introduce children throughout the world to science, technology, engineering and math — known as STEM — through robotics programs and competitions that provide real-world problem-solving experience.

For this year’s challenge, Superpowered, teams had to learn about different energy sources, storage, distribution and ways in which energy is consumed. They had to identify a problem, design a solution and share it with others.

Teams are judged in four areas — core values, robot design, robot game and an innovation project.

The FIRST LEGO League Challenge is one of three levels of robotics programs in the district. The other two are FIRST LEGO League Explore for children in grades two through four and FIRST Tech Challenge for high school students.

The district will showcase these programs and its teams during the Grafton Robotics Expo from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 15, in the high school cafeteria and commons. The event is free and open to the public.






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