This year Liza decided she wanted to compete in the Lego Olympiad as an individual, rather than a team like last year. So when she kept putting off working on her project, and putting it off, and putting it off, I wasn't nearly as ticked. The day before the competition I told her she had to either buckle down and prepare to represent her school well, or I wasn't going to let her go at all. She thought about it all day, and after school she told me she was ready to work. Yay.
She took her inspiration from an episode of her favorite show, Mythbusters, in which the team tries to escape from jail using a rope made of toilet paper. We started with some screen shots of the episode to use as inspiration:
Her initial design wasn't terribly complex, but it still looked pretty similar to the building where the episode was made. Unfortunately, when we ran the design through the Lego builder software, it spat out 70 pages of directions on how to reproduce it. Um, probably not going to happen, but we'll bring them along just in case.
Let the building begin! Liza was happy to see her friend Rachel shared her table. Even if they weren't working as a team, it's good to have a smiling face nearby.
The judges circulated through the room during the build to make sure none of the grownups were helping and to talk to the kids about their projects. Liza made good use of the photos and descriptions she made the night before, explaining how she came up with the idea and what it was going to do.
No, that doesn't look like the original model. After a meltdown early in the build, she decided to scrap the more complicated building design and just go for the basics. The original looked cooler, but honestly, this one was a lot sturdier, and it got the job done.
Look at how the projects are coming along ... Liza's got most of a building, and Rachel's volcano is done and she's working on the rest of her Hawaiian island.
Liza's finished model, "Mythbusters Toilet Paper Rope Jail Break." Note that's Tory on the rope (which she made of dental floss so it was to scale), with Grant and Kari watching from below. The minifigs were painted with wite-out, then she added the convict stripes with a Sharpie pen afterward.
Final judging time - Liza demonstrates that you can actually play with hers, and shows how the safety rope and winch work to keep Tory from falling when his hands slip on the rope.
The judges spent quite a bit of time looking over her project and talking with her about it. I was good and sat far away, trying to ignore them and not helping her answer anything. That's the hardest part of the competition, at least for me!
Liza was thrilled that she won a door prize, even if it was a box of Duplo blocks. Then two of her school's Kindergarten teams won medals ... and then her classmate won a medal ... and then they called her name!
This is Liza's first actual non-pity award where she had to beat out other kids, they didn't just give the same thing to everyone who participated. She won second place in the First Grade Open division.
Despite the fact that she didn't really prepare until the night before, I think she definitely deserved a medal for her work. She planned, she built it all by herself and it worked when she was done. she was able to explain things to the judges coherently, and she was able to recover from her early meltdown and refocus on the task at hand. Sure, it would be nice if I could have used the "See, maybe you would have won something if you'd started practicing more than 24 hours in advance of the competition" line, but hopefully this little taste of victory will leave her wanting to do her best next year.
Now, time to get cracking on the spelling lists for the Bee next Friday ...