We are coming to a close of our 2011 season of First Lego League (FLL) here in Oregon. Last weekend we attended the Quarter Finals for the competing teams at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. I’ll post photos of the actual QF’s later this week – what I wanted to share with you today has to do with the Core Values of First Lego League.
- We are a team.
- We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
- We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
- We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
- What we discover is more important than what we win.
- We share our experiences with others.
- We display Gracious Professionalism™ and Coopertation™ in everything we do.
- We have FUN!
One of the Core Values areas that the team will be observed demonstrating is Research Integration – Application of FLL values and skills outside of (FLL). Outside of research, team building, and listening to mentors, it is hard to find ways to implement the STEM areas in a tangible way.
I’d like to share with you one way our family has seen the fruit of FLL Core Values and has enriched the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) area of learning.
The Hydraulic Arm came to us as a box of parts and a black and white instruction booklet. All we needed was a screw driver, ruler and marker. The cutting tool was included. Using parts similar in design shape to the Lego Technic parts, instructions were given to cut the lengths needed. Nathan had to figure out some of the fractions and addition / subtraction problems to see how best to use the lengths of materials.
One of his difficulties is reading detailed instructions and easily carrying them out. I did, for the most part, read the instructions out loud, but did not offer advice on how to implement. Once he started understanding the pattern of the building, he jumped ahead quickly, and only asked my help to keep him on the correct steps.
In two sittings, he completed the hydraulic arm! After it was finished, he changed the design, strengthened the pieces, shifted the weight distribution, and chose the colors to help him remember which plunger would change each hinge.
He was able to demonstrate his work, sharing the design changes with the rest of the family, and taught his younger brother how to manipulate the arm. Everyone who has come over this past month has gotten the same lengthy demonstration. Ha.
I love this product – and those that Teacher Geek offers – as it took a project that seemed overwhelming out of the box, chunked it into small pieces, offered just enough instruction to guide but allowed room for interpretation and changes. (Jon says it is EPIC.)
Teacher Geek’s Hydraulic Arm is a great product to teach valuable STEM and FLL concepts. Teacher Geek says “We know the best way for students to learn is through experiencing the whole cycle: understanding concepts, designing, engineering, and most importantly improving: redesigning and innovating.” I’m pretty sure from our whole family – Having FUN is also included!
Picking up Apple Cores in the Living Room.
Creating Funny Straws
Redesigning the straw so that it is unable to backwash into the drink:
Thank you TeacherGeek.Com! May we present you with a picked flower?
Here is a Video of Nate’s Demonstration:
We received the Advanced Hydraulic Arm for free in exchange for emailing the owners a review.
A reminder from the company – “These products are intended to be used with parental (or adult) supervision. These products are not marketed as toys, and are not intended to be used as such. They are meant to be used as educational tools (and the learning is lost if a child is left to his/her own devices).” You may notice from the photos that Nathan is doing well with the assembly, but Jon is watching TV and sketching. Nate was interested in the math, measuring, and building, and we had some great conversations during these days, and now in the future. Jon made a giant straw out of the extra parts. Had Jon, the ten year old, been the child this project was focused on, I would have been much more of a helper and instructor to him, introducing him to the measurements, cutting, and engineering.