The Coronado Elementary School Howlers were awarded the “Rookie Team of the Year” trophy and 10th place at the state qualifying FIRST Lego League competition held in early December.
FIRST Lego League was created to develop critical thinking, collaboration and creativity in students through the use of projects and robotics. During the FIRST Lego League “season,” students must come up with a solution to a “problem” within the annual theme. They must also learn software used to program a Lego robot to make its way through various obstacles.
Coronado represented Higley Unified School District for the first time this year.
“It was exciting,” said student member Haley Carrington of the competition in Chandler. “I was definitely nervous at the time because I didn’t know what to expect.”
During the first part of the school year, the students gathered after school to work on a research project and program the robot.
“Only one-sixth of the competition is the robot,” said Jacqui Flowers, who, alongside Jason Scherr, coached this year’s team. “The rest is the research project with core values.”
This year’s theme was “nature’s fury.” The students decided to do a project based on student and adult fear of tornadoes – something we don’t often see here in Arizona.
The idea came from an interview with a well-known storm chaser, Joshua Wurman. Ms. Flowers and Mr. Scherr were able to arrange a video conference between Mr. Wurman and the students.
“After talking to him, they were able to work with each other to determine they wanted to figure out how to send information to people,” Mr. Scherr said.
The students researched surveys and then created their own to gauge how fearful people are of tornadoes. After the survey, they provided information about tornadoes to the same group. They then redid the survey.
“What they found out is people are more scared of tornadoes because they are not aware of the basic information about it,” Mr. Scherr said. “We didn’t do much. It was entirely on the kids.”
The students presented their project on the same day as the robotic competition. And when all was said and done, they had finished 10th out of 32 teams, along with the “rookie” trophy that is awarded for team spirit and sportsmanship and having fun.
“A lot of it is learning to work together and learn from other teams while you’re competing with them in a friendly way,” Ms. Flowers said.
“I jumped right up and started running and clapping everyone’s hands. I got the trophy and was really excited,” Haley said.