The Mindstorms Mayhem team that will head to Atlanta is made up of a group of area home-schooled students, including Merrimack's Amelia Jennings, seen at the far right in the front row. One of the team mentors is Christopher Jennings.

Lego Competition FIRST In Fun

Merrimack Journal - December 16, 2004

'Mindstorms Mayhem' is First Again

A team of local home-schooled students, including a team member and a mentor from Merrimack, took two first place awards in the FIRST Lego League state tournament Saturday, sending them back to the international competition that they won last spring.

The Mindstorms Mayhem home-school team of kids ages 10-14 took the Director's Award, emblematic of top honors across all judging categories, and first place in robot performance. The win means that for the second year in a row, Mindstorms Mayhem will represent New Hampshire in the international competition. It will be held in the spring in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, site of Mindstormers' international victory last April.

The team includes two Merrimack residents, mentor Christopher Jennings and team member Amelia Jennings, along with Katie Hammes, Nicholas Hammes, and Melissa Gray, all of Milford; Victoria Umenhofer and Dan Umenhofer of Wilton; Jean Marc Le Doux and David Schunemann of Hollis; Ryan Simard of Lyndeborough; and Nathan Streeter of Bedford. Coaches are Bill Gray of Milford and Ken Streeter of Bedford.

The theme of this year's competition was "No Limits," and the student-built robots had to complete tasks that a disabled person might encounter. They had to be able to move a CD to a desk, put a ball into a basket, serve a tray of food, feed pets, open a gate, read the correct colored bus sign, push in chairs, bring a pair of glasses back to base and end with the robot on the top of some stairs. There was a time limit of two minutes, thirty seconds.

In addition to robot design, each team presented a research project to a panel of judges. Mindstorms Mayhem partnered with the Milford Wadleigh Memorial Library Trustees to help make the library more accessible to people with disabilities. The team developed and distributed a brochure and instruction sheets for some software programs installed on the library computer that make using the computer easier for people who are visually impaired.

Additionally, the home-schooled Mini Mayhem team, including Ethan Jennings of Merrimack, won two awards: "Most Realistic Wind-up Car" and "Best Illustration of the Model on a Show Me Sheet."