A.E. Phillips’ Lego team brings first place trophy back to Louisiana Tech
The Lego League Team from Louisiana Tech’s A.E. Phillips Laboratory School returned to Ruston with the first place trophy last week after competing in the First Lego League state championship in New Orleans. The A.E. Phillips team’s Lego robot won first place in the robotic design category for robotic programming and also took fifth place in the performance competition. A.E. Phillips was one of 57 teams from across the state of Louisiana who qualified to compete in the state championship. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Food Factor,” the teams, comprised of students ages nine to 14, built robots out of Legos which had to accomplish a series of “missions” related to food safety. The teams also completed individual projects intended to present a solution to a common food contamination problem. Dr. Hisham Hegab, who coached the A.E. Phillips team, says the First Lego League event provides students with a great hands-on learning opportunity. “First Lego League engages kids in order to gain more knowledge about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in a practical and fun way. The teams get to build and program autonomous robots to complete a variety of missions, in an exciting competitive arena-style format similar to a sporting event. In addition, they develop and share a presentation on a science or engineering topic in which they have conducted research.” Hegab is director of Louisiana Tech’s computer science, electrical engineering, electrical engineering technology, and nanosystems engineering programs. Dr. Christian Duncan, associate professor of computer science, also assisted in coaching the team. Many of the students had worked on their robots for months. Each team was judged for robot design and performance, the thoughtfulness of its individual project, and teamwork. “I am proud of our faculty for serving our local school children in an effort that builds teamwork and problem-solving skills and motivates students to address the big challenges of our world, which will require more engineers and scientists,” said Dr. Stan Napper, dean of Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science. A.E. Phillips Laboratory School is a K-8 school housed on the campus of Louisiana Tech University, known for its strong academic focus and innovative teaching strategies as well as its emphasis on the arts. The school is seen as a model for integrating technology in classroom instruction and serves as a site for Louisiana Tech education majors to observe and practice effective teaching strategies in a supportive environment.