Community robotics team, Bitty Botsons, will be heading to the FIRST Lego League Missouri State Competition in early December, following their success at the regional competition in Columbia earlier this month. The team worked hard and was awarded the Core Values—Inspiration Award.

Community robotics team, Bitty Botsons, will be heading to the FIRST Lego League Missouri State Competition in early December, following their success at the regional competition in Columbia earlier this month. The team worked hard and was awarded the Core Values—Inspiration Award.

The Bitty Botsons FIRST Lego League (FLL) team consists of children in grades four through seven, both home-educated students and students at Lake Christian Academy in Laurie, Missouri. The team meets at least weekly to work on programming, team-building, the engineering notebook, and the group research project and presentation.

This year's FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) theme is City Shaper.

During the research/innovation project, this year's FLL teams must, “Identify a problem with a building or public space in the community. Design a solution. And finally, share the solution with others and then refine it,” as stated on the FIRSTInspires website.

The Bitty Botsons identified handicapped accessible playground equipment as a potential community issue and proposed a solution to Mayor John Olivarri and City Planner Cary Patterson.

“I think it was a really great experience meeting Mayor John Olivarri and City Planner Cary Patterson. Even though we were nervous, I think our team did a great job!” stated eleven year-old team member Brianna Vierra.

“I like robotics because I like hanging out with my friends while coding and building things,” explains FLL team member Maximilienne Williams.

The Bitty Botsons are mentored by a middle and high school student, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team Elementary My Dear Botson which was founded in 2014.

“I love seeing the kids really think about the problems they’re given, and it’s always fun to see what surprising, but awesome solutions they come up with. Their continual enthusiasm is contagious, and helping them think through solutions to their challenges sparks my creativity too,” explains Elementary My Dear Botson team member Beth Boley. Boley, along with others from the FTC team, have worked closely with the younger students, encouraging them and helping think through their innovation and research project, as well as providing guidance in technology areas when needed.

Elementary My Dear Botson has done a great deal of community service work in the area, from working at the Laurie food pantry to collecting donations for and volunteering at Swaddling Clothes, a ministry which helps needy families with young children.