LIVINGSTON, NJ — Westfield students, members of the Lego Masterminds team, received an award for complexity and decoration at the Livingston Robotics Club (LRC)’s 5th Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo (FLL) in Livingston on May 24. The LRC, with event sponsor Saint Barnabas Medical Center, held the non-competitive event during the Livingston Youth Appreciation Week celebration. There were 28 participating teams from 14 towns in eight counties of New Jersey, and one town in Putnam County of New York.

The event was hosted by Livingston’s FTC team, the Landroids, the founding team of the Livingston Robotics Club.

The Expo invited teams of children ages six to nine to participate by working on a science project about natural disasters in the theme called “Disaster Blaster.” Prior to the event, the teams created research posters on how to prepare, stay safe and recover from natural disasters. Then, as part of the program, on May 24, the children built LEGO structures that included robotic parts to control the movements of the model.

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The outdoor Expo began in the morning with the display of the work of eight teams from Livingston, and 20 teams from Glenn Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, North Brunswick, Parsippany, Plainsboro, Princeton, Secaucus, Skillman, South Orange, Tenafly, West Orange, Westfield and Garrison, New York.

The teams first displayed their work and explained their projects to the spectators and the “reviewers”—judges for this non-competitive program.

There were also demonstrations of bigger robots made by teams of older students, which included a FIRST Robotic Competition (FRC) team, Mechanical Mustangs 3314 from Clifton High School, and five Livingston Robotics Club FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams: Landroids, Alpha Force, Super Solutions, Spongebots and Exit 5 Robotics.

The event continued into the afternoon with live science demonstrations by Mad Science related to natural disasters. Children participated in activities including experimenting with vortex generators and riding on a hovercraft to learn about one of the main weather elements—air pressure.

Participants also learned how lightning can ignite wildfires by observing how papers can catch fire from a Tesla coil.

After the enrichment activities, each team was given an award title based on the strength of the team. All awards were of equal value.

The teams ended the day with family-friendly activities that were part of Livingston’s Youth Appreciation Week ­­­­­­­outdoor festival. Many activities included a petting zoo, arts and crafts, face painting, go karts, giant blow-up obstacle courses and slides, a chalk walk, food and music.