Holyoke Codes: FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition


Holyoke Codes, launched in December 2014 as part of Computer Science Education Week, is a collaborative partnership of the MGHPCC; Girls Inc. of Holyoke; Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education; New England Regional Developers; Sweet and Fizzy. Educators, computer science and IT professionals develop and teach our workshops, which provide hands-on experiences for kids and families in coding, robotics, and technology.

A major focus for Holyoke Codes last fall was their second year of participation in the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition. Each year’s challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Over a period of several weeks, teams of up to ten kids, with at least two adult coaches, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on the themed playing field (Robot Game), identifying a problem related to the Challenge and developing a solution, all guided by the FIRST LEGO League core values. The teams then attend an official local tournament, hundreds of which are held throughout the world for tens of thousands of participants.

This year’s challenge was especially relevant to Holyoke: Hydro-Dynamics. The kids learned all about water: how we find, transport, use or dispose of it. From September to December two teams met at the MGHPCC, two or three times a week, on this effort, culminating in satisfying local competitions (although neither made it to regionals.) A big thank you to Big Voodoo Interactive and the Holyoke Gas & Electric Department for sponsoring these teams!


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