side menu icon

Visitation Academy Girl Scout robotics team advances to state tournament


St. Louis, MO – January 9, 2017 – Girl Scouts are known for being go-getters. When Girl Scouts from Troops 2066 and 185, known by their team name Professionally Pixelated Pelicans, moved to the next level of competition in FIRST® Lego League (FLL) robotics, they rose to the occasion.

The team, comprised of six fourth- and fifth-grade students at Visitation Academy in St. Louis, participated in its first FLL competition in November. During the competition, teams present their solutions to real-world challenges to a panel of judges and apply their engineering and math skills to design, build and program a Lego robot to complete missions. Based on their scores, the Professionally Pixelated Pelicans qualified for the state competition and received first place in their division for their robot design.

This year’s theme, Animal Allies, challenged teams to identify a problem that occurs when people and animals interact and design a solution to improve the relationship. At the competition, the Professionally Pixelated Pelicans presented their project about chickens and how kids interact with them. Through research, interviews and field trips, they discovered that on many farms and in households that raise chickens, children often help care for the birds by feeding feeding them, cleaning the coops and collecting eggs.

“We thought of a lot of animals like dolphins and otters, but we knew people who own chickens,” Girl Scout Junior Jane Kramer said. “We thought of ways humans can interact better with them, and created a kid-friendly website with games, pictures and quizzes.”

Teams were also challenged to create a robot to perform missions. Girl Scout Isabella España said the team researched many ways to design the robot and tested it for the best performance.

“This amazing group of girls has demonstrated gracious professionalism and cooperation, one of the core values of FIRST, at competitions, team meetings and at school,” coach Amy Kramer said. “These core values–critical thinking, teamwork, good sportsmanship and cooperation, among other values–align very well with the values of our school and Catholic tradition.”

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) aims to inspire students around the world to become science and technology leaders. Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri supports 55 FIRST® Robotics teams, a dramatic growth since it launched the program in 2009 with only five teams. Through robotics, girls learn valuable life and employment skills by creating ideas, solving problems and overcoming obstacles. They also gain confidence in their abilities to positively use technology. With support from sponsors like the Monsanto Fund, Crawford Taylor Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation and LMI Aerospace Inc., the organization plans to increase its teams to 80 within the next two years.