- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - The FIRST LEGO League crew of Terre Haute’s Team Storm is a talented group of young people who program robots, develop apps to help people with challenges and learn to work as a group.

“It’s the funnest thing I do,” said Devon Langley, 13, one of seven kids making up the team, which took the Champion’s Award last month at the Purdue University regional competition.

FIRST LEGO League is a worldwide activity in which young people learn robotics and also use their creativity to help people.

Team Storm developed an app that helps people with dyslexia do math. They were inspired after attending a talk in September at Indiana State University by actor Henry Winkler, who described his childhood struggles with the condition.

Wearing their team T-shirts, the kids met and spoke with Winkler after his talk, said Lori Langley, an adult supervisor of the team.

“We wanted kids with dyslexia not to feel shame,” Team Storm member Kira Lenderman, 11, told the Tribune-Star (https://bit.ly/1ulhGTs ).

The team practices in the home of Tom and Lori Langley several hours each week. They have team rules and values they abide by. They brainstorm together often, which was the inspiration for the team name.

Last month, Team Storm took the Awesome Robotics award at the Lafayette regional. Better still, the team captured the overall Champion’s Award, meaning it topped the dozens of other competitors in overall presentation and execution.

Part of the competition involved programming a robot made of Legos to do a variety of tasks in a short time. They have perfected their robot’s performance so that Tuesday night it worked flawlessly.

Still, the upcoming state competition Saturday in Fort Wayne leaves a few of the team members a little nervous and excited. Sleep the night before a big competition is not necessarily easy, some of them said.

“It’s more excitement than nervousness,” Devon Langley said smiling.

On top of learning robotics, math and engineering skills, the kids also learn about teamwork, dealing with adults, public speaking and meeting challenges. Most of all, they all indicated they have fun as part of Team Storm.

The full team includes Devon and Trevor Langley, Aidan Truby, Kira Lenderman, Caleb Boutell, Elise Boutell and Ellie Goodwin. They will be competing at Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne in the state championships this weekend.

For more information on FIRST LEGO League, visit the organization’s website at www.firstlegoleague.org.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com


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