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South Valley Journal

Double Fun When Twins Compete in Lego Robotics

Mar 13, 2015 01:53PM ● By Julie Slama

After the Jan. 10 First Lego League regional competition, the Lego Bender team and coaches are all smiles. Photo courtesy of Jason Andrus

Two sets of twins teamed up to compete at the state First Lego robotics competition and showed double the fun could win one of the coveted tournament awards.

At the Utah First Lego League state championships Jan. 31, the Lego Benders won the teamwork core value award. This came after winning the Jan. 10 regional competition at Murray High and also being honored with the champions’ award.

The Lego Benders team consisted of twins Dallin and Aubrey Andrus, of Riverton, and their cousins, twins Hannah and Brandt Zollinger, of Murray. The Andrus twins are fifth graders at American Preparatory Academy in Draper and their cousins are seventh-graders at Riverview Junior High. They were coached by their parents, Jason Andrus and Justin and Christy Zollinger.

“They were pretty consistent all the way across the competition,” Lego judge adviser Jeff Martin said after the competition Jan. 10. “They performed well in every area.”

The First Lego League competition allows students from age nine to age 14 to compete and receive judges’ comments and scores in core values, a project and robot design and performance.  Students had the opportunity to solve challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. Through the competition, the students applied real-world math and science concepts, researched challenges, learned critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills and had fun competing in tournaments.

For Dallin and Aubrey, the competition gave them a chance to follow the footsteps in an activity their older sister competed in.

“It’s really great doing it with our cousins because we have all sorts of fun,” Dallin said. “I’ve learned a lot.”

Their project was creative, combining the twins’ ideas. They role-played how to invest smartly and save their money by comparing it with superheroes cooking bread successfully versus a villain’s recipe turning sour, coach Christy Zollinger said.

“Hannah and Aubrey suggested cooking as a project. Then we asked what is hard to learn at school and they said ‘finances, because it’s boring,’ so they combined those together and Brandt loves superheroes, so that got added in. It was just a fun idea that they had and suggested created videos on YouTube to share it with others,” she said.

Although the project and robotic design had to be the team’s own work, it worked well as Jason Andrus is an electrical engineer with IM flash, which sponsored the team, and Justin Zollinger works as an accountant, so the fathers could advise their children.