The Cinco Ranch High School FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 624 CRyptonite held its second annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics Qualifier Tournament on Saturday, December 8 at Cinco Ranch Junior High. Robotics teams of 4th to 8th grade students from all over the Houston metro area competed in the tournament. Team CRyptonite also organized a tournament toy drive to collect board games for the Krause Children’s Center in Katy.FIRST LEGO League teams of two to ten members work alongside adult mentors to design, build and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT technologies, and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of a research project. This year’s competition is the SENIOR SOLUTIONS Challenge, where students explore the topic of aging. Can FIRST LEGO League teams improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities? Team Bud-Botics, an independent team from the Cy-Fair area, won the First Place Champions Award as the team with the highest combined score from all elements of the competition. They also won the award for Robot Performance. Team “Beck Tech”, from Katy ISD’s Beck Junior High won the Second Place Champions Award. As First and Second Place Champions, both Bud-Botics and Beck Tech will advance to compete in the Lone Star FLL Championship Tournament, which takes place on February 23, 2013 at John H. Reagan High School in Houston.FLL Teams are judged on each of the three parts of the FLL Challenge: The Robot Game – the performance of their robot in head-to-head competition, along with robot design and programming; The Project – a research project and presentation; and FIRST Core Values – for how well a team embodies these values. Teams which won awards in six of the individual elements of the Katy Qualifying Tournament will also move on to the Lone Star FLL Championship Tournament. They are: “Harmony Tigers from Harmony Charter Schools – Core Values: Inspiration CyberWolves from St. Francis Episcopal Day School – Core Values: Teamwork Robomagnets from Galveston ISD – Research Project: Presentation Huevos Rancheros from Pasadena ISD – Research Project: Research Harmony Tigers II from Harmony Charter Schools – Robot Design: Strategy and Innovation Work Hard Play Hard from Harmony Charter Schools – Robot Design: Mechanical Design. Throughout the build, research and competition process, FLL robotics teams deal with real-world application of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and hands-on problem solving, as well as honing research and presentation skills.Team CRyptonite students and adult volunteers organize and run the Katy Qualifier Tournament as part of their commitment to community service and to promoting FIRST robotics to inspire future scientists and engineers. The team also founded the FLL programs at Beck JH and Cinco Ranch JH, and currently mentor the two Cinco Ranch Junior High FLL teams. The Katy FLL Qualifier Tournament, one of 800 held around the world, was the first step in the regional robotics competition process which culminates in the Southwest (Texas/New Mexico) FLL Championship Tournament. The winning team from this Championship Tournament will participate in the 2013 FLL World Festival in St. Louis, Missouri in April.