LEGO® Education is the transformation from LEGOs® as toys into LEGOs® being a gateway into the field of robotics and STEM for children starting from 1st grade. There are three co-curricular LEGO® robotics teams at MIS. The 1st-4th-graders used the LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 robotics kit. 5th-8th graders do the LEGO® Challenge, and 9th-12th graders participate in FIRST® LEGO® League.
Our Middle School robotics team (RoboCats) competed at the regional LEGO® Challenge tournament last week, hosted by Technical University of Munich, Garching campus. With only a few weeks to prepare for the tournament and the youngest team that MIS has ever had, the 5th and 6th grade RoboCats are encouraged and proud of what they were able to achieve competing against 23 other robotics teams across the region.
For more context, FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is a research and robotics tournament for 9-16-year-old students. As a team, they plan, construct and program autonomous robots. The educational program focuses on FIRST`s core values of respectful interaction, shared experience and critical thinking. After several weeks of preparation, teams participate in a regional competition day and present their findings in the categories of Research, Robot Game, Robot Design, and Core Values.
Victoria Clark Maier, MIS’s Government Affairs Data Entry Clerk is also the coordinator of the middle school robotics team. She explains that “the RoboCats team has been together since November. Within only 7 or 8 sessions, they put together two working robots, they learned programming, they learned to work as a team, they learned to work through their frustrations, their failures, and their successes”. Mrs. Maier was very impressed with the team’s conduct and performance in Garching. She commends 6th grader Jonah for “having the amazing ability to work under extreme pressure during our 2.5-minute tournament run”. Each member of the team brought their individual strengths to the competition, be it in engineering the robot, programming the course, representing the team during the panel presentation portion, or managing and manipulating the robot during the competition run.
Mrs. Maier encourages any student “who likes solving challenges to get involved. If you are interested in problem-solving – it doesn’t have to have anything to do with LEGO, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with robotics – but, if you want to solve problems in a specific way, that’s what engineering is about”.