Berkeley County robotics team needs help getting to LEGO national championship

    Berkeley Outstanding LEGO Team (WCIV).png

    A group of Berkeley County students has a chance to compete for a national championship, but needs financial help to compete.

    Ten students on Berkeley's Outstanding LEGO Team, better known as BOLT, invented a device that alerts you if you've accidentally left your water running.

    Chase Moore, a BOLT teammate, says the "Aqua Alert" works on any faucet.

    "(It's) a device that screws directly on to the end of your existing faucet and measures the time the water runs through it. When the water flows through the attachment, it activates the sensor to start timing," said Moore.

    The device starts beeping after a certain amount of time. The longer the water runs, the louder the beeping gets, Moore explained.

    Lily Bunton says the team came up with the idea because there was a problem at the school of people leaving water running, creating more work for the custodial staff.

    "Adults were having to be reminded to turn the water off, too," said Bunton.

    The "Aqua Alert" is part of an overall project theme for the year, which focuses on hydrodynamics, says sixth grader Tori McCay, one of 10 students on the BOLT team.

    "We were told to improve the way water is transported, disposed of, used and found," said McCay.

    The BOLT crew also built a robot to complete tasks related to the project.

    The team of mostly fourth and fifth graders from Berkeley Intermediate and Berkeley Middle has been competing against teams made up of mostly eighth graders this year in the local First Lego League. Going against older competition, the BOLT squad has still been winning, school district officials say.

    Their success, including a state championship in February, has earned them a spot in the LEGOLAND Open Invitational in Carlsbad, California this May.

    Once there, the team will be judged on its overall project and robotics skills, and will also be presented with a surprise "core values" challenge.

    Getting to California isn’t going to be easy, though, school district officials say. The team needs money for meals, travel and housing. They need to raise about $30,000 dollars to fly the students, teachers and parents to California.

    The team is currently holding a Krispy Kreme doughnut fundraiser, and just set up a GoFundMe account. They team says they have more fundraisers planned for the near future. If you'd like to make a donation, CLICK HERE to find out how.

    The entire goal of the competition and the robotics program is to get children excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by having them work though real-world math and science challenges using critical thinking, district officials say.

    Win or lose, students say it's all about working together

    "We get to go as a team, we get to make memories as a team and experience things as a team and build better relationships as a team," said McCay.

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