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Westmount JS Hosts Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo

Westmount JS Hosts Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Westmount JS played host to three other west-end TDSB schools for its first annual Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL) Expo. Teams from Westmount, Millwood JS, Bala Avenue CS, and Lambton-Kingsway JMS filled the gymnasium on May 3 to showcase student work.

“The Jr. FLL program is designed to get primary students excited about science, technology, and engineering while they learn problem solving skills, work as a team and most of all, have fun,” said TDSB FIRST Robotics Administrator, Annika Pint.   

Each year, students on a Jr. FLL team are presented with a Challenge based on a different theme.  In this year’s Jr. FLL “Waste Wise” Challenge, students investigated how to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink what happens to the trash we create.

In preparation for the event, students chose a topic to research that relates to the Challenge theme, built a LEGO model consisting of at least one simple machine and a motorized part and displayed their findings on a Show Me poster.  As a culmination of their hard work and to celebrate their accomplishments, the teams then participated in the Expo at Westmount where expert "reviewers" interviewed the teams to learn more about their models and Show Me posters.  

Whether digesting polystyrene using meal worms, re-purposing the plastic from milk jugs to make playground equipment or exploring the process of recycling paper, plastic, batteries or electronics, parents and teachers were inspired by the imagination and innovation that went into building the models and by the in-depth knowledge that students demonstrated through their explanations of their Show Me posters.  Some posters were even made from recycled materials and many teams had creative and colourful costumes to enhance their team image.   

Westmount teachers Melina Ciaccia and Deb Schock coached 10 of the 23 participating teams and worked tirelessly to prepare for the event.  “The students spent just over two months researching, designing, testing, planning and creating,” said Ciaccia, adding that after the LEGO Expo the students also had a chance to showcase their work to members of the school community during an eco-themed night that also included a concert and an art sale.

Schock said that the project allowed students to learn and strengthen skills that will be useful in subsequent years. “Through inquiry and problem-solving, they had an opportunity to learn about real world issues and our impact on the environment,” she said. “Through talk and discussion with one another, they learned about time management and problem-solving.” 

Both teachers agreed that students enjoyed the preparation that went into the culminating event as much as the Expo itself. For some, it was all about teamwork.  "I enjoyed working on a team to plan and build and research," said Cienna. "We learned to collaborate, cooperate, and listen to our teammates," added Michael.

Jeremiah and Bonsa said they especially enjoyed the research. “We got to learn new things about how garbage affects the environment.” 

Sahara said that she developed perseverance when building her project. “Sometimes it got frustrating but I didn't give up." 

For more information about how to start a Jr. FLL team, school staff can visit this web page or contact FIRST Robotics Administrator, Annika Pint.  

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