Russian students compete at 2014 FIRST Championship

Russian middle schoolers traveled to St Louis to compete with their FIRST Lego League robotics project.

Over the weekend six middle school students based in Moscow competed at the FIRST Lego League International competition in St. Louis. Arbuziki is their team name, Russian for ‘small watermelons’. The students represented Digital House Khamovniki in Moscow, an education center focusing on robotics and information technology.

The team competed in Russia’s RoboFest in February 2014 with their Flood Saver robot. This year’s FIRST Lego League theme was Nature’s Fury, focused on putting young engineers in the mindset of protecting against natural disasters.

A whopping nineteen missions in Nature’s Fury involved moving supplies, pets, water, and people using an EV3 robot constructed and programmed by students. Cargo planes, tree branches and tsunamis are moved or delivered while evacuation signs and house foundations are raised.

Flood Saver is a robot inspired by current dam technology, modeled using sensors and Lego Mindstorm EV3 robotics. The robot will monitor water levels and then switch on a pump when the level reaches the critical point. Rubber sleeves built on the side of the dam’s embankments will hold the water that the robot begins to pump out of the dam.

Arbuziki was thrilled to win third place this year in the Presentation category for their Flood Saver project and presentation. The six students who attended the competition this year are all highly technical, focused on robotics, Java programming and engineering. This is their second year of globe-hopping to attend the FIRST Championship.

It’s easy to be inspired by these students. Russia is similar to North America in the decline of STEM workers for the growing number of high tech jobs. Arbuziki students have aspirations of becoming mathematicians, programmers and robotics engineers. Competitions like FIRST and Russia’s RoboFest are inspiring future generations to engage in engineering activities and careers.

Special thanks to Anastasia Markitan from Basic Element for images and background information.