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Media Contact: Mona Tolbert
Office: 713-292-0361

Katy-Area Girl Scouts Advance in Robotics Competition

Team wins Innovative Solutions Award


KATY (January 21, 2014) – In December, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) – West FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robotics Team competed in the Nature’s Fury Houston Championship Qualifier Tournament at Cinco Ranch Junior High. The team, dubbed The Junior Educated Girl Scouts, or JEGS, earned the Innovative Solutions Award. JEGS is one of only 60 FLL teams from across the state selected to compete for the state title and comprised of girls ages 9 to 13.

“Studies show that girls lose interest in math and science during middle school, and STEM interest for girls is low, compared to boys,” said Mary Vitek, GSSJC CEO. “To address this disparity, Girl Scouting provides rich opportunities for girls in grades kindergarten through 12th grade to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and STEM fields, including participation in the FIRST LEGO League Robotics program for girls age nine and older.”

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) introduces girls to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) using LEGO MINDSTORMS. Girls engage in activities that test technical skill with robot design and programming while exposing them to leadership skills through annual research-oriented community projects, promoting awareness of current issues.

The theme of the competition was natural disasters. JEGS built a robot out of LEGOs that navigated an obstacle course simulating natural disasters as well as a solution to help address a natural disaster.

“The team decided simpler was better as it posed less risk in navigating the obstacle course,” said Josephine McGill, GSSJC volunteer and JEGS coach. “They used treads on their robot to ensure more precise movement and to go over stationary obstacles at the end of the course. They also had a single motor driving a rotating arm that performed multiple functions, including preventing a “tree branch” from falling on power lines, launching a rescue plane and blocking tsunami waves. The same philosophy also extended to their programming, which was very straightforward to enable easy modification. The robot performed consistently.”

The solution that the team won their award for was the Bathtub Insert Tornado Shelter (BITS). After meeting with EMS and firefighters, the girls decided to focus on creating a solution for the bathroom, the place many families go to take shelter from a storm. JEGS designed a metal whirlpool.

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 62,000 girl members and nearly 19,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties.

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