This weekend, the Geneseo Schools will be well represented at the First Lego League State Championship when both district teams¬¨‚Ä† make the trip to Champaign to compete. Not only is it remarkable that we have two teams participating at this level, but the accomplishment is even more significant considering this is only the third year Lego League has been offered for our students.
First Lego League gives students in grades 4-8 the opportunity to experience the fun side of science and technology as they work together to create innovative solutions to real world problems. There are currently two teams offered in the district.¬¨‚Ä† Team ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Bionic Blocks‚Äö√Ñ√π consists of 9 students who are in 5th and 6th grade, and their coaches are elementary teachers Courtney Meyer and Emily Alford. There is also a 7th grade team, ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Leafs Unleashed‚Äö√Ñ√π made up of 10 students who work under the direction of Geneseo Middle School science teachers Deb Wagner and Jenni Johnson.
Teams begin working together in September two nights a week. Their goal is to design, build, and program an autonomous robot using Lego Mindstorms technology. Through the process, students apply real-world math and science concepts; research challenges facing today‚Äö√Ñ√¥s scientists; and learn critical thinking, team building, and presentation skills.
‚Äö√Ñ√∫This program is so important in fostering teamwork, creativity, and innovative thinking,‚Äö√Ñ√π shared Mrs. Meyer. ‚Äö√Ñ√∫The students love every aspect of the challenge. It is so beneficial for higher thinking, and really keeps them engaged and motivated in learning.‚Äö√Ñ√π
This year‚Äö√Ñ√¥s topic is ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Learning Unleashed,‚Äö√Ñ√π and teams were tasked with creating a solution to the problem ‚Äö√Ñ√∫What is a way better way someone can learn to do something?‚Äö√Ñ√π Each challenge consists of three parts on which the students are judged: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL Core Values. The Core Values are the cornerstone of the program, encouraging participants to experience how friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.
Both teams were selected to participate at the state level based on their performance at the qualifying tournament in November. The 7th grade team even returned with the Overall Champions Award, with judges noting the growth and development of this group over the past three years of competition.
‚Äö√Ñ√∫First Lego League gets students excited about science and technology,‚Äö√Ñ√π Mrs. Johnson commented. ‚Äö√Ñ√∫While students get important hands-on experience working with STEM concepts, what they gain goes far beyond academics. This program prepares students to work with others to solve a real world problem.‚Äö√Ñ√π
The FLL State Championship is this Saturday, January 24th at the University of Illinois in Champaign, where a total of 64 teams from Central Illinois will compete. ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Making it to the state level is very exciting for these students,‚Äö√Ñ√π Ms. Meyer shared. ‚Äö√Ñ√∫This is their celebration!‚Äö√Ñ√π
Please join us in wishing these students much success and a great experience as all of their hard work culminates. We also thank their coaches and the volunteers who have helped them get to this level!