CLINTON — Building robots and small cities out of Legos is more than just a game for students at Camanche Elementary School and River Bend Middle School. It is a chance to win a national championship.
The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League is an international program that teaches students all over the world the importance of teamwork and engineering, and for the students at Camanche and River Bend schools it has been an exciting experience.
“It seems scary at first but once you do it a couple of times, it gets much easier,” Camanche Elementary School fourth-grader Kaitlin Stansbarger said.
Students in Sheryl Kennedy’s fourth grade FIRST Lego League (FLL) class have been working on a project for more than four months and on Dec. 14, they will present that project at the Lego League regional competition at the Putnam Museum in Davenport.
Those 10 students, the Disaster Blasters, will have 2 1/2 minutes to program their Ev3 robot to run a series of missions, collecting points along the way. The missions are based on the 2013 Lego League theme, Nature’s Fury, which challenges children to use science and technology to master the effects of natural disasters.
In Kennedy’s class, students have developed a process to quickly and effectively provide relief to victims in the wake of a tsunami.
“The fourth-graders chose to study tsunamis since several of them read a book by Peg Kehret about tsunamis,” Kennedy said. “We are safe from tsunamis here in Iowa, but we all want to visit places where a tsunami could happen. So, we chose to focus on how to help tourists survive tsunamis, since we could be the tourists in a dangerous situation.”
For the middle-schoolers at River Bend, however, choosing a natural disaster that hit a little closer to home felt more beneficial to the project and to the area.