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Seventh grade students receive championship award in Minnesota’s FIRST LEGO League competition


Maple Grove Middle School student, Marcus Panganiban, and his team Spike+ won the Champion’s Award in the 2021 FIRST LEGO League - Cargo Connect Regional competition. The winning idea that led this team to victory was inspired by a visit to the Coborn’s distribution center. 

"I felt so joyful because I didn't feel super confident when going into it but it just feels so relieving getting an amazing score," said Panganiban.

A new educational theme is selected each year, and past themes have included hydro dynamics, animals and waste management. This year, teams explore the future of transportation and reimagine faster, more reliable, inclusive, sustainable transportation. 
“From the food we eat to the books we read, there are complex transportation systems working to get us what we need, when we need it, but as more demand is being put on our shipping structure, and as our population changes, our transportation methods suffer unless we create new ways for products [to get] from place to place. This season, you will reimagine our global transportation system.” said FIRST LEGO League Director Kim Wierman in a season kick-off video.


Spike+ wanted to learn about driver safety, so they sought out the director of logistics and safety at Coborn’s district center. This meeting inspired them to focus on driver safety and seatbelts. 
Judges were impressed with Spike+’s presentation and confidence in the redesigned seatbelts. This demonstrated excellent teamwork, and the improvements to their final idea showed good “proportional line follow.” 
The team is composed of eight members from Maple Grove Middle School, Minnetonka Middle School West, Excelsior Elementary Schools, and Dakota Hills Middle School. The team will advance to the Minnesota State Championship on Feb. 26.