St. Paul’s 5th through 8th graders have the opportunity to participate in First Lego League. The First Lego League’s mission statement says their goal is to “inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators.” This is done through a three step process.
This year, St. Paul’s had three teams with each team having from 4 to 7 members. Each team was able to build and program a robot. The robots were programmed to accomplish different tasks that were set out on a table. Using rotations or sensors the robots would roll out onto the table and would have to flip over a tower, place blocks into a circle, swing a swing, or lower a crane. Points were awarded for each task a robot completed.
The teams also had to come up with problems in our local infrastructure. Our teams identified problems with our surface water, bridges, and electrical plants. The teams then researched solutions for the problems. Once the solution was researched and thought out, the teams then worked on presentations explaining the process.
The final category teams are involved in is Core Values. The teams learn how to work and cooperate as a group. An example core value is “Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.” Teams are then judged by how well they work together and help each other as they problem solve.
Last weekend, November 9 and 10 was the Orange County Qualifying Tournament. This tournament is held each year at St. Pauls. Two of our teams competed on Sunday and the other team participated on Saturday. At the tournament the teams run their robots three times as they try to achieve their maximum amount of points. The teams also present their problem and solution to a panel of judges and the presentation is followed by a series of questions about the team’s core values. All three of our teams placed very well at this tournament with two of the teams moving on to the next round December 7 and 8 at Legoland.
First Lego League is a fantastic program where students are able to pursue science and engineering while building cooperative learning skills.