Thursday, January 18, 2018

Helping the World with LEGOS, Values and Projects

So, what happens when you get a team together and start attempting to solve the world's problems. Amazing things when that group is a combination of 4th - 6th grade students working together. The Highland Acres Hawkbots Lego Robotic team is hard at work for this year's First Lego League Competition. They have been posed with the question, how do we as humans interact with the water cycle, and what impact does that have on our environment. Once they are able to understand the problem that they face, they then have to come up with an innovative solution to solve it.

So you may be wondering what has this dynamic group discovered and attempted to solve? They recognize early on that the runoff water in Bismarck (after storms, melts or during events like cleaning cars) carries with it polutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, oils and bacteria which directly enters our coulees and river systems. They didnt' like that idea and created the "Super Cleaner 8,000." A system, that combines photochataltyics (light filtering) along with compost filtering of contaminated water. An invention created by Dr. Fowler and Portland State University combined with a trusted (old but true) system to filter water.

 But why? Why create this? Ask any of them and they will tell you that they don't like the idea that pollution is entering the coulees in their neighborhoods. They will also tell you how interesting the learning was and is. In all the pictures you can see interviews and research happening with Dr. Fowler, as he came from Oregon, to visit with us about our idea. He even did a Google Hangout with the team. These kids want to make a difference, and even got information from the engineers from the city about this issue. They have created a plan and plan to present it in front of a panel of judges in hopes to advance to the State First Lego League competition.

These students also had to design, plan and program LEGO robotics to interact with mechanical builds. They had to learn core values. And here is the best part about it all. They actually didn't HAVE to do it. They do it because they want to. They chose to be the ones that were a part of a team, solving problems, learning gracious professionalism that the non-profit group FIRST teaches them.
The beauty of First Lego League is that the students are completely self sustaining. They need to read the challenge guide that shares with them all the rules for the project, the robot games and the core values. As the adult coach, I am simply a guide. I can not directly teach, and I have to give up control to their decisions. I am simply the guide on the side. A true example of highly engaging, extremely inquiry based learning, but in a team format. The Hawkbots are changing the world one thought and program at a time!
Twitter Tuesday Questions!

Q1: What inspires you to help our youth create change in the world?

Q2: How have you sustained inquiry in children/young adults?

Q3: How much does it scare you to guide, but not make the final decisions when thinking about how youth experience/design final products?

Q4: Would you lead a team of FIRST LEGO League, or something like it? What would it be for you?

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