Learning Life Lessons Through Robotics

All eyes on are on a small robot, driving around the challenge table.  The robot has to move directly between two towers, which is easier said than done.  If the coding is slightly off and the robot spins too far during the turn, the mission isn’t a success.  

But the robot breezes through the towers and everyone surrounding the table cheers!  The team exchanges a few high fives but quickly moves on to set its robot for the next challenge.  Four weeks of concentration and programming have lead up to this final competition.

The Operation Breakthrough Robotics Team partnered with engineers from Burns & McDonnell for a special LEGO League robotics competition.  This hands-on STEM experience, exposed students to a workplace environment and allowed them to see real-world problem solving, coding, and engineering. 

The eight employees mentored the eight students in a Burns & McDonnell conference room, working together to code and program their LEGO robots.  Over four weeks of practice friendships were formed, confidence gained, and knowledge passed on to the next generation of engineers.  

After some final adjustments, official LEGO League Judges watched as each team’s robot completed the various challenges, including moving between towers, to earn points.  Burns & McDonnell engineers continued to provide encouragement to their OB teammates through both the victories and struggles of their robot. 

During the final competition, teams showed off their skills by having robots stack LEGO pieces, drive through towers, collapse structures, and move items around the table.  Although the robot only had two minutes to complete the challenges, the lessons on teamwork and persistence will last forever. 

Operation Breakthrough looks forward to partnering with more Kansas City companies for LEGO League Competitions this summer and continue to expose students to mentors within the community.