Having trouble creating an impactful, yet simple project? We can help! Below is an article written by Lisa Bath, coach of Team 10564 the “Bionic Brains”, on the steps her team took to achieve a successful project during the 2015 FIRST LEGO League Season.
Our team began the season in the last week of August and started working on the project by early September. In researching our project the team used online resources, outreach to other communities, and neighborhood polling. The team settled on doing something related to proper sorting of trash with the existing system that is already in place. The project focused on how to improve it in our own community. The idea was simple, label the actual trash cans better so people are more informed from an easily available source: their own trash cans.
To further understand this concept and what it would take to get it into place, the team met with Eric Zetz; City of Clovis Solid Waste Supervisor on November 9, 2015. At this meeting he had invited two representative from Republic, the company Clovis contracts with for all items in our blue recycling bin, to join the meeting. At this meeting the team learned additional information about how the city collects, sorts, and recycles trash.
They shared their idea, asked questions, and listened to what Mr. Zetz and the Republic representatives shared about the barriers to such a project. It was at this meeting that the team learned all changes, like the one we were proposing, must first be approved by the Clovis City Council. They also learned there was a resistance to using stickers here in the Central Valley because the heat is severe at times and may cause damage to the stickers. This was a reason to explore other options for getting this information on the bins.
At this point our team went to one of the FIRST LEGO League Qualifier event and competed against 33 teams. There we received a Judges Award that was described as the “Make it Happen” award and received an invitation to compete at the championship in February 2016.
The judges award was exciting to the kids and motivated them to improve their project for the championship. Therefore, in order to actually “Make it Happen” we requested to be added to the agenda at the January 11, 2016 Clovis City Council meeting. We were given an opportunity to speak to the council and present our proposal, every student spoke at the podium. The team presented a written proposal and fielded questions from the council; they were encouraging to the team and made a motion to have the Clovis Solid Waste and Refuse Department work in collaboration with our tam to further research the proposal and extended an invitation to return for a possible approval.
Our team did additional research and discussed some changes based on the information learned, what other cities were doing, and the concerns presented at our initial meeting with the Clovis Solid Waste Department. We met with Mr. Zetz again on February 17, 2016 to discuss changes and understand what he learned from Toter, the company who supplies the cans. After this collaboration, Mr. Zetz wrote up his department proposal for the city council and we all returned to the Clovis City Council at their April 4, 2016 meeting to request approval. It was approved!
The final project is that the new and replacement lids of all City of Clovis cans will be more thoroughly labeled with specific information of what goes into each bin. Although our team had proposed specific information for each bin, the final list was determined by the department.