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Two Harbors Lego Robotics team heads to state

(from left) Reid Cruikshank, Tanja Thomas, Wyatt Huddleston and Zack Blaisdell show off the Lego robot, obstacles and tools they created for the state competition Feb. 24 in St. Paul. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)

The Two Harbors FIRST Lego Robotics team is headed to the state championship Saturday, Feb. 24, in St. Paul for the second straight year.

The four-member team, also known as the "Robodweebs," presented its project to local officials, business leaders and community members after school recently to show them what the team does and to get feedback on their project and presentation.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League (FLL) presents its teams with a trio of challenges where they have to build and program a robot using Lego Mindstorm parts and complete challenges on a board provided by the league. The competition also requires its participants to complete a research project and challenge provided by FLL.

Team members Reed Cruikshank, Tanja Thomas, Zach Blaisdell and Wyatt Huddleston have worked together throughout the school year to build the robot, tools and obstacles their robot will have to navigate in competition from a set of 3,000 Legos.

The Robodweebs also completed a project related to water usage and waste, the theme of this year's challenge. They created an app people could use to track their water usage throughout the month instead of simply getting a bill at the end of the month. The idea is if people can see when their water usage spikes, they can take more measures to curb their consumption and conserve local water resources.

The students created a presentation they will give during the competition in St. Paul and rehearsed it in front of local officials, business leaders and community members Monday at Two Harbors High School, including Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson and Water Superintendent Paul Johnson.

Swanson, also the owner of local digital marketing company Pure Driven, provided feedback on the business and technological end of the project and Johnson gave the kids something to think about on the practical end of how the app could work with current meter technology.