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Westfield Robotics - Picking Up STEAM

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Team Legorio members (from left to right) Wilson Wright, Luke Jenner, Neev Nedungadi, and Evan Tukaczynski met with members of the Westfield High School Robotics Club. Credits: Karen Fishman
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The Westfield High School Robotics Club recently shared their enthusiasm for robotics with Team Legorio, a young robotics team from Jefferson Elementary School. Team Legorio was invited to the high school for a sneak peek at their robots for the Central NJ League Tournament for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). The tournament will be held at Westfield High School on Saturday, Feb.5, 2017, and FIRST teams from throughout New Jersey will participate in the competition. 

FIRST is an international program designed to inspire interest in science and technology, with competitions held throughout the United States and the world.  Teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots in a head-to-head challenge.  This year’s challenge, “Velocity Vortex,” requires teams to navigate their robot through a playing field and score points by activating “beacons” or by making goals with balls of various sizes. Westfield High School has three teams competing in the FTC tournament.

Team Legorio, a parent-run group comprised of four second grade students from Jefferson, participates in the FIRST Lego League Jr. (FLL Jr.) challenge, which is designed to introduce elementary age students to STEAM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).  The program utilizes Lego kits designed specifically for use by FLL Jr., and includes a motorized part that the children incorporate into the design. 

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This year’s FLL Jr. challenge is called “Creature Craze,” and requires teams to depict a bee in the ecosystem and its contribution to the environment.  Team Legorio created a Lego robotics model with multiple components, including a crane that models the flying of a bee to move the honey, a honey shaker which shakes the honey out of the comb, a tumbler which extracts the honey, as well as an owl with a rotating neck which protects the hive from mice.  The students designed and built the models, and also configured block coding to control the model. 

According to Nishith Nedungadi, Team Legorio’s mentor and the father of a team member, FLL Jr. is a great platform for establishing STEAM programs at the elementary level.  It uses Legos, a favorite toy for many children, to introduce students to concepts such as simple machines, building, design, analytical thinking and coding.

The Westfield High School Robotics Club invited Team Legorio to the FTC tournament to demonstrate their model for “Creature Craze.”  Team Legorio will not only display their model, but will have the opportunity to watch the competition, inspiring the future of robotics in Westfield.  Please stop by Westfield High School on February 5th and check out the amazing robots competing in the “Velocity Vortex” challenge, and support the Westfield High School FTC teams and Team Legorio! 

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