This fall, White Hall Elementary School in White Hall, W.Va., sponsored a First Lego League Junior (FLL Jr.) team. Eleven fourth-grade team members and two coaches met twice a week for several months to develop a LEGO model, poster and presentation to illustrate what they learned as part of this year’s CREATURE CRAZE Challenge. As part of their meetings, the Mighty Builders participated in West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge.
The challenge fit naturally into the learning the students were doing as part of the CREATURE CRAZE Challenge.
“The team and building rules were similar to what we were doing for FLL Jr., and the kids needed to begin learning about our WeDo LEGO set, how the motors and sensors work, and how to program it, so this challenge seemed like a natural fit for our meetings,” coach Mark Suder said.
With the guidance of their coaches, the kids split into several teams to create LEGO satellite models, then chose one to add motors, sensors and a brain to. Following the addition of and learning about these parts, the kids brainstormed about the questions that were posed to them for West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge. Those questions were:
- What you want to have in West Virginia’s second spacecraft and why?
- What is different from your LEGO STF-1 and NASA’s LEGO STF-1 and why?
- How do CubeSats affect space exploration around the world?
“Creative, energetic, smart, enthusiastic! Those are the words I would use to describe the students,” Suder said. “As the coach, I have been both proud and inspired to be part of this team. These kids are the future of the country, and with all the negative news these days it is neat to see that there is also a lot of hope for the future based on these inspirational young people of today. Besides, who doesn’t like playing with LEGOs?”
The team was incredibly excited to learn that they had won the First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge and was excited to tour NASA IV&V and receive their first place prize.
In addition to the tour, and to both congratulate and celebrate the accomplishments of this team, NASA’s IV&V Program invited the students, their teachers, as well as the school’s principal to attend IV&V’s Internal Award Event. The students were presented with certificates of appreciation, and in return, presented IV&V’s Director Greg Blaney, as well as the program, with a thank you card from the team.