Everybody's a winner at LEGO expo
December 16, 2009 - Every team got a trophy and every student received a medal Saturday as Lakeville Elementary hosted Oxford's 2009 Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL) Expo.
|The Sailors, a Junior FIRST LEGO team from Lakeville Elementary, explain their project to judge Judy Bozynski. Pictured are team members (front, from left) Justin Sisson, Lilly Brandenburg and Trent Myre. In the back row are (from left) Brenden Westby and Sam Murray.
Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)|
"The Expo gives the kids the chance to show (what) they're learning and get recognized for their effort," said Cheryl Matas, a second-grade teacher at Lakeville who coordinates Oxford's involvement in the Jr. FLL.
Each year, the teams are given a different mission. This year, they had to select a mode of unique and imaginative transportation, research it, then design and build a 15-inch-by-15-inch model using LEGO bricks.
"The students learn how to work in a team, think outside the box and present their findings in a public format," Matas explained. "Teams are learning about real world problems, (developing) research skills, transferring what they learn in research into projects and developing a better understanding of math, science and technology concepts."
They also get the added self-esteem boost that comes from impressing their families.
"Parents, siblings and grandparents have an opportunity to see what their children are learning. This is their chance to shine," she added.
Ten teams participated in the Expo, seven of which were from Clear Lake and Lakeville elementaries. Participants are in grades 1-3 and range in age from 6-9.
Clear Lake teams included the Super Jets, Star Wars and Transporters.
Lakeville teams consisted of the Rapid Riders, Team Bolt, Kingdom Elevator Stars and the Sailors.
Of the 60 students who participated, approximately 36 were from Oxford.
The three visiting teams were from Honey Creek Elementary in Ann Arbor and Hamilton Elementary in Troy.
Matas believes programs like Jr. FLL are very important because kids who are interested in science and technology "need nurturing" as they'll be the ones who "someday find a cure for cancer."
Jr. FLL participants got to experience some of the latest gadgets thanks to Lakeville's technology specialist, Maryann Swadick.
A student from one of the visiting teams was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a family function, but still wanted to participate in the Expo. So, Lakeville used the software program known as "Skype" to allow him to be there via video conferencing.
Sponsors for this year's Jr. FLL Expo included the Clear Lake PTO, Lakeville's PSC, Dunlap Collision and R.S. Richards Custom Building and Remodeling. Special thanks to the Oxford Fire Dept. for its participation.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.