TGS FIRST LEGO League hosts tournament, wins awards, heads to state

On Saturday, December 3, The Gregory School hosted the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Regional Qualifying Tournament with 23 teams from southern Arizona. This year's FLL theme was "Superpowered!" FLL provides students with real-world problem-solving experience through a guided, global robotics program. Middle School Dean of Students and engineering & robotic programming teacher Mrs. Jennifer DeBenedetti coaches TGS’s two Middle School teams.

Saturday's tournament was the culmination of months of work researching and developing an innovation project; designing, building and programming a robot; and coming together as a team by practicing the FLL Core Values of discovery, innovation, impact, teamwork, inclusion, and fun. 

One TGS team, The Stirling Superheroes, qualified for state and also won the Core Values Award
Mrs. DeBenedetti received the Coaches Award.

Teams participated in multiple scheduled events throughout the day. Each team had three Robot Game matches where they ran pre-programming missions on their robot to earn as many points as possible. The match resulting in the highest number of points went toward their overall score. Our teams’ high scores were 180 points and 155 points, placing us in 8th and 14th positions, respectively, for the Robot Game.

Each team also had an innovation project presentation and robot presentation. These presentations took place at the same time, and team members were also judged on their Core Values throughout their presentations. Team presentations and their Core Values rounded out the remainder of the overall score. Both Gregory School teams looked at different types of energy, and identified thermal energy as a plentiful resource in Tucson. 

The Wind Warriors identified the problem of laptops overheating in police motorcycle side-bags. The solution they identified was to mount a small wind turbine on the side of a motorcycle to keep a battery charged for a peltier chip to cool a laptop.

The Stirling Superheroes focused on the problem of hot ramadas on campus at lunch time. They designed an adapted version of a stirling engine where the "hot chamber" could be mounted on the ramada roof and the "cold chamber" could be buried underground to achieve the temperature difference needed to drive the engine, converting thermal energy to mechanical energy and spin a fan.

Both teams modeled excellent Core Values, and each team member represented the best of The Gregory School.

"Teaching is an invigorating practice. It provides endless opportunities to inspire others and be inspired by others."

Jennifer DeBenedetti, M.Ed.

Jennifer DeBenedetti graduated from the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. She joined The Gregory School faculty in 2018.


3231 N. Craycroft Road, Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: (520) 327-6395
Fax: (520) 327-8276
The Gregory School is an independent, private,
non-profit 501(C)(3), coed day school for grades 5-12.