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Oak Grove Lego team 2018 (copy)

Oak Grove School's Lego robotics team took first place in the CORE Values division of the 2018 state tournament. The Fin-tastic Fish are, from left: Nicole Williams, Greta Babbitt, Lena Larson, Ellie Grace and Brianna Williams.

Provided photo

Oak Grove Elementary School's Lego robotics team has received recognition from two organizations for its work to improve the lives of girls in third-world countries.

The Fin-tastic Fish, made up of Brianna Williams, Greta Babbitt, Lena Larson, Ellie Grace and Nicole Williams, created a research project this year titled, "How Can Girls Living in Third World Countries Use Micro-Hydroelectric Water Power to Improve Their Lives?"

To answer that question, the team designed a small, inexpensive micro-hydroelectric water-powered generator. Their idea is to place the generator in a small stream or river, where it can generate enough electricity to recharge small batteries or LED lights. The idea is the lights would be safer and more reliable for families to use than open-flame candles.

Team members shared their findings on the school district's blog and website and with FIRST Lego League Robotics. Heifer International, a global nonprofit working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable community development, and GenderAvenger, an online community dedicated to ensuring women are represented in the public dialogue, both took note of the project and singled it out on their respective websites.

"The Fin-tastic Fish LEGO Robotics Team are using their mad science skills for good," Heifer wrote on its April 26 webpage (https://www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2018/april/all-girls-robotics-team-solve-real-third-world-problems.html).

Said GenderAvenger, in a post May 4: "Decked out in pink shirts and giant pink hair bows, this group of girls is improving the lives of women in third world countries one LEGO brick at a time." (https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/avenger-of-the-week-fin-tastic-fish-lego-robotics-team).

The project helped the team to a first-place championship in the Core Values division of the state championship tournament, held this past January in Hillsboro.

For more information about the team, or to help with donations to prepare for next year's competition season, contact coach Mark Gullickson at mark.gullickson@albany.k12.or.us. The team operates independently of Greater Albany Public Schools and is not supported by district funds.

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