Fifth-graders off to state competition

From left, fifth-graders Jenna Leasure, Cora Lemon, Chanelle Walker, Joe Osborn and Tyler Nelson work on their robot which was part of their victory at the Destination Imagination competition in Rifle. The team from Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School will be competing at the state level.

Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School fifth-graders Jenna Leasure, Cora Lemon, Tyler Nelson, Joe Osborn and Chanell Walker are headed to Denver to show off their robot.

The students, who have been together since first grade working on engineering and literacy projects, will compete against students from across Colorado at a state Destination ImagiNation competition April 17.

Destination ImagiNation is a nonprofit organization that hosts regional contests, state competitions and a global competition in May for preschool through 12th grade students in more than 30 countries.

The students pick an educational project from a list of possibilities offered by Destination ImagiNation and have from October to March to finish the project.

This year, the Lincoln Orchard Mesa team, nicknamed JCT 500, chose to create a robot that shoots objects catapult-style with some help from a battery and a pulley system.

The skit which is based around the robot focuses on a grandpa getting assistance from the robot after he loses his strength.

Jennifer Osborn, a first-grade teacher at the school, has coached the team through four regional Destination ImagiNation competitions, but this is the first time the team has advanced to state. Osborn said the team was the only one from Grand Junction that competed at the regional tournament March 13 in Rifle.

“They performed well under pressure, even when things were falling apart and falling down,” Jennifer Osborn said, referring to some technical difficulties the team experienced at the Rifle competition.

The competition encourages teamwork and ingenuity, so having the team’s set fall apart and improvising when the robot broke may have been what secured the team’s first-place finish, according to the team.

“We had humor, and we worked through it. Probably, the judges were star-struck,” Joe Osborn said.

The students will perform the skit at state with a few alterations.

“We’ll bring a stock of batteries,” Leasure said.


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