By Kenny Gilliland
Lego Robotics is great fun when it comes to learning and now it is at Wren Elementary! FIRST LEGO League (FLL), which has grown into a global event since its inception 11 years ago, recognizes the important role that Lego can play in the development of skills; more specifically those skills needed to pursue a career in engineering.
Mrs. Rhonda Rhodes, principal of Wren Elementary, stated that the program aims at stimulating more interest in Science, Engineering and Technology among learners while incorporating team work and a social responsibility.
In October, more than 25 students from WES signed up for the after school Lego Robotics Program, led by three coaches and teachers. The three teams are coached by Kenny Gilliland and Denise Cothran (Team 1- Strikers), Cindy Pury and Clair Mundy (Team 2 – Ninjas) and Cindy Boyd and Lisa Mathis (Team 3- Wrenegades).
Assisted by wonderful parent volunteers, the FLL program is currently one of the largest science and technology programs globally, with 20,000+ teams in over 61 countries around the world participating in the 2012 season. Building with Lego blocks can enhance learning in a number of different ways and all in the guise of good fun.
Studies show that children forge new brain connections when building with blocks. Spatial concepts, cause-and-effect, and fine motor skills are all developed while stacking blocks.
Lego is also great for developing math and problem-solving skills. Because Lego comes in a variety of bright colors, kids can stack them into patterns and while making patterns, they are working on math and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, while kids are building with Lego, they are organizing, planning, concentrating, and persevering. Sometimes they communicate with a friend or parent about their structures. Often they will critically or creatively solve problems.
Creative and critical thinking are important not just in literacy, but also in numeracy, science and other areas.
Mrs. Rhodes added that the competition is structured to expose learners to the following skills:
· Learn teamwork skills;
· Build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills;
· Research challenges facing today’s scientists;
· Design, build and program autonomous robots;
· Engage with community.
These students will compete regionally with the FLL Challenge: they will create a Senior Solutions project to make life better by improving something that already exists, using something that exists in a new way, or inventing something totally new. This challenge allows our students to engage in an innovative team environment creating solutions to make the world a better place….what an incredible experience for these students at Wren Elementary! For more information about the WrEngineers program, please visit them on Facebook at WES – WrEngineers.