(Submitted photo/Nanlyn Akin)
Members of LaBelle Middle Schools Atomic Narwhals.
LaBelle’s youngest FIRST Lego League (FLL) team earned a “Golden Ticket” during the January 12 Qualifying Tournament at Cypress Lake Middle School. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. They call themselves the Atomic Narwhals and are quick to point out that their favorite FLL Core Value is to have fun! They had a blast at the tournament and will advance to the Regional Tournament in Plant City later on in February. Mission accomplished for this space themed season! On Saturday, January 12, the Atomic Narwhals, really shined with their research project. They are studying the problems associated with space debris. With help from one of Mrs. Akin’s former students, they were able to talk to a leading expert in the field of space debris. He liked their solution to the problem. Currently, space debris is avoided and tracked and we have been very lucky for near misses. The team wants to collect the debris and relocate the debris to the moon for future colonies. Most of the debris is made up of aluminum which can be used again. The team had to figure out costs and pros and cons of such a task. They argue that although their solution is expensive, it could save lives, equipment and catastrophe in the future. Two big hurdles stand in the way. The first being, setting aside money in the national budget to address this issue. The second being that not all of the debris is American made. A lot of the debris belongs to Russia and it is an act of war to touch another country’s equipment even if this equipment is no longer working and could cause issues to other nations and their space endeavors. In the next month, the students will continue their research and work on coding their robot “Rocket” for more missions. The team will continue to work on the FLL trademarked Core Values which include having fun, inclusion, discovery, integration, and gracious professionalism. Team members include Drayton Akin, Christopher Cepero, CJ Hogan, Bella Peck, Jackson Perkins, McKenzie Salinas, and Octavio Salinas. Coaching the Atomic Narwhals this season are Nan Akin and Isaac Peck.