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Competitive Robotic Team from Ballwin, Wildwood Visits Seniors

As part of preparing for a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotic competition to be held next month, local middle school students are demonstrating and interacting with senior citizens in West St. Louis and St. Charles counties.

Some Assembly Required—a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team of middle school students from Ballwin and Wildwood—recently visited with residents of Lutheran Senior Services' (LSS) Meramec Bluffs Senior Living Community in Ballwin.

FIRST LEGO League is part of the FIRST Robotics group, which organizes robotics competitions to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. FLL tournament teams are judged in four areas: robot design and programming, robot game performance, research project presentation and teamwork (core values). 

Some Assembly Required is comprised of students who attend Wildwood Middle School and Morgan Selvidge Middle School. They are preparing for a competition that will be held at St. Charles Community College on Nov. 18, Gordon told Patch.

Pam Gordon, LSS director of volunteers, said team members spent a recent afternoon with residents to demonstrate robot tasks and discuss their project idea for an upcoming contest. "This year’s competition theme, Senior Solutions, encourages teams to identify a solution or idea that will enrich or improve the lives of older adults," she said.

To assist FLL groups, Gordon said three LSS communities invited teams to discussions and demonstrations with residents and employees. 

In addition to the Meramec Bluffs visit by Some Assembly Required members, separate teams in close proximity to Laclede Groves in Webster Groves and Breeze Park in St. Charles visited with residents and employees to exchange ideas and demonstrate their robot-related tasks. 

Gordon, who assisted with coordinating the visits, said LSS managers were thrilled to host the groups, providing an opportunity for companionship and a forum for sharing of ideas that may help their residents live life to the fullest. 

"The residents who attended the presentation and discussion at Meramec Bluffs are part of a technology club, and therefore were very interested in the FLL program and how teams of students around the world work together to solve everyday problems, and program a robot to complete a variety of everyday tasks," said Gordon.

"For the student team members, the visit was an opportunity to interact with active, older adults and receive feedback from the audience whom will benefit from the senior solution they will present at competition."

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