The 2015-2016 theme for First Lego League (‘FLL’) robotics is ‘Trash Trek’, and teams were asked to ‘make less trash or improve the way people handle the trash we make’. The Brickheads chose ‘How can we reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used in schools’ as the problem they would tackle throughout the season. Having seen bottle fillers used at pools and airports, they wanted to provide a water bottle filler for their school. Drawing inspiration from one of the robot game tasks (in which teams remove valuable items from a building prior to demolition), the Brickheads wanted to raise the money necessary for the bottle filler by collecting and selling recyclable materials, most of which would have otherwise ended up in a roll-off dumpster rental service in Austin. After weeks of collecting cardboard, steel, aluminum and copper, the team collected approximately 12,000 pounds of recyclable materials from family, friends, local businesses and even construction sites and used the proceeds to purchase Saint Mary’s school a new water fountain equipped to fill water bottles.
FLL then challenges teams to share what they’ve learned. Confident that this project could be undertaken by any school or group, The Brickheads created a how-to manual to assist other schools and groups. They’ve distributed this manual to many schools in the Richmond area, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.