The Woodhull Dragon Racers with their high school mentors.
The Woodhull Dragon Racers with their high school mentors.

Woodhull Sixth Graders Advance to LEGO League Championships

March 14, 2023

Woodhull Intermediate School sixth grade dual language program students Elisabetta Arra, Dylan Goodwin, Gavin Kline, Hunter Kline, Cecilia Lee, Emily McCarthy, Elena Prior and Caitlin Wegielnik are headed to the FIRST LEGO League Challenge World Championships in Houston next month after a first place finish at the Long Island regionals at Hicksville.

Competing under the team name Dragon Racers, the Woodhull sixth graders captured the Champion’s Award, a first place trophy presented to the top all-around squad for robot design and robot game as well as for “innovation project” and “core values.”

The robot game and robot design combined for half of the recent competition score. While the Dragon Racers’ struggled in the robot game, judges were impressed by their “gracious professionalism.”

The Woodhull sixth graders found success at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge Long Island regional.
The Woodhull sixth graders found success at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge Long Island regional.

Huntington High School robotics team members turned out at Hicksville to support the Dragon Racers, continuing a collaboration that began many months ago.

The Woodhull sixth graders used a gyro to create more accurate movements and their code was well documented, making it easy for judges to understand. The team’s innovative sequencer put it over the top with judges.

The core values category incorporates teamwork, discovery, impact and values learned. The high school robotics team involved the Dragon Racers to their fall fundraiser, giving the sixth graders a platform to discuss the FIRST LEGO League with community members.

The Dragon Racers went on to work with local Girl Scouts on coding. “This event allowed them to push themselves to be teachers, but also reinforced all the concepts they had learned,” one parent said.

Innovation project focuses on solving a problem based on the season’s “Superpowered” theme, which centers on energy. The Dragon Racers developed the idea of constructing a biosynthesis energy plant to supplement Long Island’s electricity generating capacity.

The envisioned project would have a greenhouse and create electricity through photosynthesis power generation while an adjoining biomass plant would burn plant waste and garbage to generate steam to turn a turbine. The CO2 would be filtered and pumped into the greenhouse to help the plants in photosynthesis.

The most fruitful source of research proved to be a tour of the waste to energy plant in Babylon where the Woodhull sixth graders learned that two-thirds of Long Island’s garbage is burned for energy at an assortment of town incinerators.

The Woodhull Dragon Racers plan to cheer on the Huntington Robotics team at the FIRST Robotics Long Island regional at Hofstra University on March 20-22 as the high school squad strives to qualify for the world championships in Houston on April 19-22.