Rancho Santa Fe fifth grade robotics team headed to FLL Southern California Championship

The Rancho Santa Fe Maze Runners, a fifth grade RSF Eagles Robotics Team from R. Roger Rowe School, won first place at the Escondido Robotics Qualifier on Nov. 8, advancing to the First Lego League Southern California Championship.

The Maze Runners beat out 23 other fifth-grade teams for the chance to compete in the championship Dec. 6 at Legoland.

The RSF Maze Runners team is composed of Nora Gauvreau, Logan Johnson, Jake Malter, Malcolm McDonough, Dylan Powell, Brandon Powell, David Scuba and JT Young.

The FLL Challenge is a three-part competition, and this year’s theme is World Class Learning. The first part of the competition is a project requiring the team to pick a topic the team is interested in and identify ways to improve learning it.

The second part is a robot challenge requiring the team to build a Lego Mindstorms robot programmed to carry out several missions. The third part is to demonstrate core values emphasizing teamwork, cooperation, gracious professionalism and friendly competition.

The Maze Runners’ selected topic was effectively learning foreign languages. The team completed research and interviewed foreign language education experts in order to better understand best practices. They discovered the benefit of learning foreign languages in an environment that is enjoyable and low stress, such as while playing basketball.

The team took first in both the core values and robot design components of the challenge and placed third in the robotics challenge.

The RSF Maze Runners continue to seek ideas and suggestions regarding fun and creative ways to experience language immersion. Please email the team with suggestions at