It was only their first competition, but Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School students proved they belong by winning the Teamwork Achievement Award at the Long Island regional FIRST LEGO League, Jr. Challenge at Longwood High School last Sunday.
“For the past four weeks, our all of our fourth grade students have been participating in the FIRST LEGO League, Jr. Creature Craze,” said Donna Moro, principal of Jack Abrams School. “This learning experience combines science instruction with engineering concepts, collaboration and creativity.”
While all Jack Abrams STEM fourth graders have been participating in the initiative, the school was allowed to select just one team to represent it at the regional competition. That group included Harrison Fox, Dylan Heller, Lucas Miller, Brandon Polanco, Maynor Turcios-Enamorado and Sophia Weiss.
The six youngsters made history by winning an award in the first year of the school’s participation in the event. “We are proud of our students’ achievement and look forward to expanding our participation in the program next year,” Ms. Moro said.
Founded more than 25 years ago, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international organization that strives to develop an interest in science and technology for young people. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is designed for students in grades K-4 while FIRST LEGO League offers programs for those in grades 4-8. There is also a FIRST Tech Challenge for students in grades 7-12 and FIRST Robotics for high school students.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. introduces STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts to students between the ages of 6-10. Teams of up to six members “explore a real-world scientific problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc.,” according to the organization. “Then they create a ‘show me’ poster that illustrates their journey of discovery and introduces their team. They also construct a motorized model of what they learned using LEGO elements. In the process, teams learn about teamwork, the wonders of science and technology and the FIRST LEGO League Jr.’s core values of respect, sharing and critical thinking.
“Globally, students compete in the FIRST programs through extracurricular clubs and organizations,” Ms. Moro said. “However, this allows only a small group of students to have exposure to the enriching experience of FIRST competitions. At Jack Abrams School, have been thrilled to offer all our students the opportunity to be exposed to the excitement and pride that comes from working in teams to research, design, build and share their experiences.”