Playing With Legos Pays Off

By Jocelyn H.

The Widget club is all about Lego Logics. In Lego Logics, you use this software called Mindstorms to program robots, build robots, and build little stations on the mat, which are all made out of Lego. The robot that the team builds will have to do certain movements at each station, under the limit of two and a half minutes in a FLL (FIRST Lego League) competition.

Mr. Wheeler’s Lego Team built this robot.

“I teach three teams which so far have four to five students. Some students from South High help me coach the teams. Alyssa A. is one of them. I teach the experienced students by telling them what they need to learn, and letting them do the whole thing by themselves. The South High students, on the other hand, teach new students how to program. This year will be the first year of FLL competition for my teams, which is going to happen in November. My goal is to teach kids what engineering is, and how to solve problems,” said Technology Teacher Joe Petito.

“I want to start this team because I am interested in STEM, think that it is important for kids to learn it, spend more time with my children  Sixth Grader Ben W. and Ninth Grader Anna W., and wanted to share these things with students because we didn’t have that when I was a kid. This is our fifth year as a team, and the third year in FLL. We started out as a Junior FLL team, which is recommended for the ages of six to nine. The interesting thing about Junior FLL competitions is that they were always at Legoland. During the time when this team was in Junior FLL, we got lucky and won two trophies in both of the years we attended.

I teach new students by teaching them how to program, add little suggestions, and kick in some fun so that they become interested in learning this new topic. I suggest them to pair up with another older kid. What I want students to learn from attending this program is to teach them to program computers that are similar to what I have at my workplace, and associate learning with having fun,” said Parent Teacher Rob Wheeler.

Students enjoy being in the Lego League and building robots for competition.

“Lego League is all about having fun and leaning STEM. We build robots and program them with Mindstorms NXT and study Core Values (things like gracious professionalism and teamwork). During competitions, we compete with robots, express Core Values, the Project, Robot Design, and having fun. Our robot consists of Lego technical pieces, tires, wheels, motors, wires, and six batteries. In my team, there are eight people. If students have different opinions, then most of the time we vote on it. I build, program, and run the robot. What I learned is how to program robots, become better at building legos, and that computers can be a good friend of yours, but at the same time it does what you tell them to do literally,” said Sixth Grade Student Ben W.

Don’t you think that building an ACTUAL robot is AWESOME? You can build a robot, play with it, and get an opportunity to meet new friends. One day, I bet you can make a robot that will do your homework for you!

Photo Courtesy of Jocelyn H.

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