Veni Vidi Duci - Green: I came, I saw, I Calculated.

Walk into the Student Union Building on the Casper College Campus and up the floating staircase to the third floor.

At the end of the hall, hang a right and you may find the Veni Vidi Duci-Green team hard at play as they prepare for the Sunshine Invitational Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida to compete against 82 teams from around the world using legos to demonstrate the masterpiece of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

In December, the state of Wyoming held its 18th annual First Lego League Championships. Over 60 teams from across the state of of Wyoming competed and the Veni Vidi Duci team were declared Runner's Up.

Theirs is a unique team with home-schooled kids from 9-14 years old.

Their differences bring a wide-variety of assets to the table. "I don't know if I've ever had teams this collaborative," shares Doctor Jason Katzmann, the group's coach, "They all have tasks, responsibilities, but they're really focused on helping each other be successful."

Gage Graham is the "realistic" one. His teammates say he's very focused and keeps everyone on task.

Boone Purviance helped research the best way to make a stamp and found that silicone works better than a block of rubber or a potato, and Carter Purviance thought of using arms on a robot to make missions more efficient.

The eldest of the group, Reagan Amole, is rich with experience from her many years participating and is an excellent teacher.

Jorja Effenberger is also a good leader and she is credited by the team for her creativity.

Jase Bright contributes high level programming, especially "line-following" when it comes to their robot.

The team chimes in that Jacob Baker is the best at building and engineering.

They take a Democratic approach to making decisions as a team by vote.

They've landed on an astronomy theme for their overarching theme in this year's competition, narrowing it down...

These are the themes the teammates tossed around, they've color coded each one's promotion until the darkest ones were voted on.
These are the themes the teammates tossed around, they've color coded each one's promotion until the darkest ones were voted on with 'astronomy' for the win.

More specifically, the team researched the northern circumpolar constellations and asterisms including their locations and the cultural lore behind them to be able to teach others about them.

Using the the Computer Aided Design (CAD) program TinkerCAD, students built 3-D molds to create rubber stamps of these constellations and asterisms.

They've also created a glow-in-the-dark map of the northern nighttime sky.

This is just one part of the competition.

The other three categories will test their engineering and design skills as well as their team-built robots' abilities to complete a series of tasks. All the while, the judge's will be looking for a demonstration of the competition's core values including discovery and gracious professionalism.

Coach Katzmann has challenged them to find the simplest and most elegant ways to achieve their goals with the robots, emulating nature.

As they near competition time in June they're working about four hours a week, but they'll ramp it up after Spring Break.

"There's still a lot to do," says Purviance. "We still need to do about 70% of the missions and more programming."

They're currently fundraising to reach their goal to raise $15,000 for travel and supplies, including team shirts.

They will be at the March 16th craft fair at Eastridge Mall and Pizza Ranch on March 28 and May 30 to help serve and clean. The team intends to do a fundraiser at Fuzzy's Taco Shop as well, but the dates are TBD.

Donations may be made out to PB STEAM Inc, the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization they are working under; include "Lego Robotics" in the memo section of a check. Donations may be given to team parents or mailed directly to PB STEAM, Inc. at 611 W. 57th St. Casper, WY 82601. You will receive a statement at the end of the year regarding your tax-deductible charitable contribution.

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Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, TSM

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