This past Sunday, the Rover Rangers, SDJA’s First FLL, Jr. team displayed their “Mission Moon” model at the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo at LEGOLAND. The team included six students: Elie Steinway, Oscar Rubenzik, Sarah Matloubian, Ian Hewitson, Joshua Gelt, and Sammy Zack. Sammy’s father, Andy, coached the team, assisted by Ian’s mother, Brianne, and Sarah’s mother, Selena.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League, Jr. emphasizes STEM learning through a yearly challenge project. This year’s project was to design and build a moon base. Meeting weekly from October through February, the team studied moon facts, watched videos, discussed what would be needed to survive on the moon, then planned and built their base using both standard and motorized LEGO sets. Throughout the process, they discussed the importance of teamwork, listening to others, and how to divide a project’s tasks among the team to get it all done. Some worked on programming while others built the robot or rocket. One team member worked on the greenhouse while another built the solar panels. Then it all came together to form the base.
At LEGOLAND, over 150 teams have displayed their models at Expos over the past few weeks. Sunday morning, the reviewers met with about two dozen, asking the students how they decided on their team name, how they solved disagreements, who built which parts of the model, and other questions designed to see what the students learned throughout the season. The Expo ended with a ceremony during which each student received a ribbon and certificate and the rest of the day was for fun at LEGOLAND!
Incredibly, FLL programs cover grades K through 12, growing from motorized LEGO models to full-on robotics competitions. Parents interested in learning more and possibly coaching an FLL team in the future can visit www.firstinspires.org for more information.