By Pam Harnden, Livermore Falls Advertiser
JAY — Spruce Mountain Middle School has four teams preparing for the FIRST LEGO League competition season.
The challenge this year is HYDRO DYNAMICS and focuses on the human water cycle. It has three parts: the robot game, the project and the core values (discovery, teamwork and gracious professionalism).
“This is not about the traditional water cycle of evaporation, precipitation and condensation,” advisor Rob Taylor said. “It’s about how people get, use, transport, clean and dispose of water.”
He said each team is working on a different aspect of the human water cycle.
‘Salty Savages’ are working on water purification. Doug Burdo, manager of the Livermore Falls Water District, has shown the team members the different media the district uses to filter water.
Team members Evan Farmer and Quinn Fournier discussed aspects of this year’s robot game.
The half-circle base start area is the only area where teams can touch their robot, Fournier said.
“There are different sized water capsules. The object here is to get the rain drops to fall down,” Farmer said.
“Dirty water has to be filtered to make clean water at the water treatment plant. There’s a building on fire and there’s a fire truck to put the fire out. Another section has a flower. Extra points are given if the team can get a raindrop to land on the flower,” Fournier said.
Farmer said other parts of the game involve minerals, flipping a manhole cover, placing a tripod inside the large circle and replacing broken pipes with new ones.
Other ‘Salty Savages’ team members are Zane Ashlee, Jacob Bryant and Connor Blanche. Bryant said he he likes problem solving and working with robots.
Jay Deputy Fire Chief Corey Leclerc has met with the ‘Flaming Tigers’ team. Their project is about how fire pumper trucks transport water and some of the issues faced.
Ava Coates, Bryna-Jaden Cramer, Brian Daigle, Abrahm Geissinger, Myles LaBonte and Owen Schwab make up this team.
‘The Snail People’ team has developed an innovative food system. Named ‘Snailaponics,’ the aquaponics-type system uses Chinese Mystery Snails to grow plants. Team member Lily Bailey was on a team that used the invasive snails last year with a different focus.
Team member Zachary Donald got the snails from Canton Lake. He said their system grows things without using dirt.
Team member Jacob Stevens said they are using snails to grow plants instead of fish.
“Our system is self-cleaning. Fish can’t clean, the snails can,” Donald said.
Stevens said their do-it-yourself system is inexpensive. The plants don’t need to be weeded or watered.
Donald said Chinese people originally brought the snails to the United States to be eaten by people.Their system has found a use for an invasive species.
Also on this team is Casey Gould.
Waste water treatment is the project for team ‘Who Are We?’. Mark Holt, North Jay Water District, has met with this team. Team members are Jaedyn White, Hunter Bibeau, Connor Roy, Nathaniel Lovewell and Robert Bamford.
“Within our teams we’ve covered the entire realm of the human water cycle,” Taylor said.
The teams will be among 32 competing at the Western Maine Qualifier, Saturday, Nov. 18, at Spruce Mountain High School. The teams will be judged on their projects and core values in the morning. The public is invited to watch the robot competitions, beginning about 1 p.m.