It is another FIRST Lego League (FLL) season and Team Tiki of McLean is in full swing. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology through teamwork and problem-solving. This year Team Tiki has members ranging in age from 9-15 years old, covering the schools of Mclean High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, Longfellow Middle School, Haycock Elementary School and one home-schooled student.
The FIRST Lego League challenge this season is called “Power Puzzle.” Through this challenge, Team Tiki has been learning about energy usage, ways to make improvements in energy usage and alternative energy sources. To start, the team completed an energy audit of the Sunrise Assisted Living office building in McLean and sent suggestions to make improvements in energy usage to the building manager. Next, after discovering that the power plant that provides electricity to Mclean uses a combination of petroleum and natural gas — two fossil fuels whose burning contributes to global warming and whose availability are predicted to run out in 50-100 years — Team Tiki did a general study of alternative energy sources for electricity. Because of its potential availability anywhere in the United States, and because of its minimal environmental impact, the team decided to focus on geothermal energy.
Team Tiki met with U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at his Capitol Hill office. For more information on Team Tiki’s findings on geothermal energy, visit www.teamtiki.us.
The 2007 FIRST Lego League season began when the challenge was released on Sept. 5. Regional competitions will be held at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Ashburn on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18. On those days, the public is welcome to view the robotics segment of the competition in the gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.