Imagination Iowa LEGO League “Red Dangerous” Team to Compete at FIRST World Championship 2017

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[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][text_output]Contact: Jessalyn Holdcraft, NewBoCo Director of Marketing
Phone: 319.382.5128

Cedar Rapids, IA, February 12, 2017 – The Cedar Rapids-based Red Dangerous FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) team earned first place and the State Championship title at the Iowa FIRST LEGO League State Championship in Ames. Red Dangerous has been invited to the 2017 FIRST® World Championships in St. Louis, MO, April 26-29. 108 teams out of more than 29,000 teams participating worldwide in the 2016-2017 season will compete at the event.

Another 109 teams will compete at the other Championship in Texas, also in April. The theme of this year’s season is “Animal Allies.” The Red Dangerous team will be presenting their winning design intended to improve the ecosystem to save salmon populations and improve water quality for all animals, including humans.

FIRST LEGO League is a program for students in grades 4-8, guided by adult coaches, work together to invent new solutions to real-world problems. They build and program a robot using LEGO products and must be ready to compete against other teams on a regional, state, and international level.

The Red Dangerous team will present their salmon-saving and water-cleansing idea at the upcoming FIRST World Championship event. The team will also present their award-winning robot at the competition that includes teams from 44 countries around the world.

Their design includes a model showing how their invention can prevent contaminated runoff from entering natural bodies of water, thereby reducing algal blooms, which harm the salmon population. The ten student inventors are studying water quality, farming, salmon health, and project costs, and conducting research and interviews with area experts to solidify details of their proposed solution.

The team consists of Cedar Rapids-area elementary and middle school students in grades 5-7. The students are dedicated to the principles of FLL and a number of the students have competed on this LEGO League team for multiple seasons; one member has been on the team for four years. Their combined experiences have contributed to the team’s first place finish in a field of more than 500 teams registered in the competitive state of Iowa.

“We all work together as one to reach a common goal,” says Arjun Palaniappan, Red Dangerous team member and 7th grader at Oak Ridge Middle School in Marion, IA. “Putting a diverse team together from kids around the area helped us create exciting new ideas for our project.”

Imagination Iowa hosts and sponsors the team along with Samsung Electronics. The goal is to increase participation and interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Hopefully the Red Dangerous team’s trip to the FIRST® World Championship will lead to a more young people taking an interest in STEAM subjects.

“This is an exciting time for Iowa’s youth,” says Kristine Sorensen, Imagination Iowa’s K-12 Programs Director. “LEGO League is a perfect blend of the critical thinking skills, perseverance, technical skills, and interpersonal team-building skills that students need in order to excel in the real world. Red Dangerous worked incredibly hard over evenings and weekends, and their hard work paid off in a first place win.” 

To learn more about LEGO League and the Red Dangerous team, check out

2016-2017 Red Dangerous – FIRST LEGO League Team #24559
Nikhil Anand, Grade 7 – Oak Ridge Middle School, Marion, IA
Riya Anand, Grade 5 – Echo Hill Elementary School, Marion, IA
Tejas Gururaja, Grade 6 – Oak Ridge Middle School, Marion, IA
Levi Hodge, Grade 5 – Isaac Newton Christian Academy, Cedar Rapids, IA
Peter Kamp, Grade 7 – Excelsior Middle School, Marion, IA
Aadarsh Kumar, Grade 7 – Excelsior Middle School, Marion, IA
Arjun Palaniappan, Grade 7 – Oak Ridge Middle School, Marion, IA
Ethan Strecker, Grade 6 – Prairie Creek Intermediate, Cedar Rapids, IA
Leif Tastad, Grade 5 – Echo Hill Elementary School, Marion, IA
Evan Tominsky, Grade 5 – Erskine Elementary School, Cedar Rapids, IA

Adult Coaches:
Eric Tastad
Shelley Kamp

Randy Bachman

About Imagination Iowa
Imagination Iowa, NewBoCo’s K-12 STEAM education program, runs CoderDojo, DojoPro, Summer Challenge Camps, Iowa Girls Code Camp, Future City Iowa, and a variety of other programs that focus on encouraging creativity, fostering entrepreneurship, helping kids learn how to code, and promoting computer science.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]