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HCMS Team to LEGO® World Championship

February 24, 2020, Huntsville, Alabama – On Saturday, January 25, the 6th grade C.R.A.B. (Cool Robots And Builders) Robotics STEM Team of Huntsville was announced as the State Champions in the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Alabama Championship.  

FIRST is the world’s largest student celebration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) with four levels of competition for grades K-12. In an ambitious crowd of 36 teams, the C.R.A.B. team was electrified when they were named the Alabama State Champions, and invited to go to the FIRST World Championship. The 2019 World Championship in Houston, Texas, included 33,000+ attendees, 15,000+ students, and 700+ teams from 40 different countries.

The C.R.A.B. team is now planning their representation of Alabama and seeking additional sponsors interested in supporting STEAM activities. Volunteer and parent, Susanne Whited has been working alongside the students, watching them as they have gained skills they can use outside the classroom. “As a parent, I am thrilled with the growth of these kids,” stated Whited. “At the end of last season, we had a meeting and asked them individually what they gained from their first season. Unprompted, their answers were: friendships, research skills, programming skills, organization skills, presentation skills, confidence. Love it!”

In order to compete, each team had to build and program autonomous robots, along with research and design an innovative solution to a problem for this season’s CITY SHAPERSM challenge. After mapping out a timeline, the C.R.A.B team began working on robot challenges they called CRAB Raves, and project research they called Bat Raves. As a volunteer with a student on the team, Michele Durda understands just what this group has accomplished. “After doing their own research, these students were moved by the problem of light pollution, specifically the impact on bats,” says Durda. “After researching on their own, they set out to talk to knowledge experts, both local and out of state. We couldn’t be more proud of all their hard work.”

Starting with their City Council member at City Hall, along with city planners, engineers and the city utility company, they met to discuss the issue of light pollution. Additionally, they spoke with a bat expert, a home developer, and an astronomer. As part of their research, the C.R.A.B. team took several project-related field trips, including a visit to Cave Springs Bat Cave to watch the bats emerge, along with a trip to the VBAS Observatory. For a fun bit of research, they went to look at the new LED lights at a Huntsville Havoc hockey game.

In addition to the core competition activities, the C.R.A.B. team participates in community events and FIRST Open Houses to promote STEAM activities. This season they mentored two other FLL teams. They have plans to continue collaborating with other teams for several more STEAM events like the FIRST Robotics Competition Rocket City Regional, April 1-4. Currently, the C.R.A.B. team is working on a fundraising push that will allow them to participate in the FIRST World Championship in Houston.

The C.R.A.B. Robotics STEM Team enjoys being a part of FLL, and hopes to continue learning and sharing their journey. Follow C.R.A.B. through their social posts, and watch video logs of their journey on facebook at CRABRobotics.

For sponsorship information, please contact:

Barbara Schantz 


C.R.A.B. Robotics STEM Team

(Cool Robots And Builders)