The Junior First Lego League (Jr. FLL), run by PEP (Parents as Education Partners), is looking forward to a second season after recently wrapping up its first year at Schuylerville Elementary School. The program, designed for students ages six to nine, introduces STEM concepts through the use of Legos. Guided by adult coaches, teams of students explore a real-world scientific problem such as food safety or recycling. They then construct a motorized model of what they learned using Lego elements.
“I initially helped to start this program for my kids,” said advisor Eran Swears. “I wanted them to find excitement and passion in STEM, something to develop their self-motivation for learning. Building with Lego elements seemed like a perfect opportunity for this.”
The program has seen an outpouring of community support since it began in February. Kitware Inc. in Clifton Park and the Schuylerville American Legion both donated enough money to buy two Lego base kits, which allowed the club to start two teams. A donation from Fish Creek Rod & Gun Club Inc. in Victory Mills will be used to help cover team registration fees next season. And, Jr. FLL recently received a $500 donation through the Stewart’s Holiday Match Program. That money will be used to buy WeDo 2.0 robotic kits for the teams, which adds software, more motors, and sensors to make the Lego models more animated and programmable.
“After coaching two teams this season I have really started to appreciate the impact that the program can have on kids,” Swears said. “I look forward to seeing their excitement for STEM grow this fall when we introduce robot sensors and programming to the JrFLL teams.”