Super Cheetahs Take on Challenge

#LakotaGoesGreen: Super Cheetahs Take on Challenge
Posted on 01/16/2020
This is the image for the news article titled #LakotaGoesGreen: Super Cheetahs Take on ChallengeSuper Cheetahs with Lego Project

What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin? 

The Super Cheetahs, a team of Cherokee fourth-graders, took on this challenge as part of a FIRST LEGO League competition. 

Grant Armstrong, Madi Blamer, Zach DeMonge, Alex Reder, Matthew Turner and Claire Wagner met every Friday after school to answer these questions. 

Their solution: help the environment by rewarding people for depositing recyclables and trash. The team created a pull behind unit consisting of two reverse vending machines that gave out coins or seeds to those who deposit trash/recyclables. 

"We did this ourselves without our parents making the decisions for us,” said one team member. “The kids gained so much from this experience,” said Bobbie Turner (who coached the team along with her husband, Kevin). “The kids did everything: they identified the problem, researched, developed, designed, sought expert opinions and continued to improve the project.”

The FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers, and students build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology. The league engages students in hands-on STEM experiences, allowing them to build confidence and grow their knowledge. Students are encouraged to try ideas and if they fail, try again, while connecting STEM concepts to real-world examples.

"I liked being creative and solving problems," said Madi Blamer. "And I liked the program because it challenged me and I was able to meet some new friends," added Zach DeMonge.

The Super Cheetahs improved the project as they went, adding a greenhouse that could help rebuild the environment. They also tried to make it as environment friendly as possible by using collected rain water for the greenhouse, and then fueling the unit with methane (collected by the trash dumps).

But they didn’t stop there: the team wanted to include an element that would address homelessness, so they tied in a homeless work program as well.

The Super Cheetahs made it to the FIRST LEGO League district qualifier tournament held earlier this month.

The team even shared their project with representatives from Rumpke and the Butler County Recycling and Solid Waste District. Even though the FIRST LEGO Challenge is finished, the team plans to continue learning more about the environment and recycling through an upcoming visit to a Rumpke facility.

"I liked the project because we have so much trash in our city and that harms us. I wanted to do my part for a cleaner environment,” said Claire Wagner.

The team, along with other student groups, will be sharing their ideas to promote green living as part of the #LakotaGoesGreen Earth Day Celebration on April 18 at West Chester Square from 2-4 p.m.