Hillel Community Day School’s First Lego Robotics team brought home the Future Architects award at the University of Rochester’s Jr. First Lego League competition Dec. 10.
Coaches Michael Sortore and Gillian Merklinger led the way to victory and the young engineering students followed. With 14 junior teams and 25 middle and high school teams in First Lego, the award was a success for not only Hillel School, but also the environment.
The winning structure was an idea formed by kindergarten through third-grade students. With the addition of gardening and sustainability class into this year’s curriculum, as well as a new science, technology, engineering, art, and math lab, students have new learning opportunities. This led the students to be inspired to put effort into sustainability, renewable resources and an eco-friendly future.
The team’s structure used a computer program that made it possible to move water from the roof of a Lego model of Hillel School onto a model of the Hillel garden. The water was moved by a wheel, which was an example of architecture and showed the application of knowledge from the student’s STEAM learning.
When asked about the competition, Miriam Yaar, a second grade team member said there was a lot of support from parents and community members at the event. The coaches also had some reflections on the experience.
“The kids have come a long way on their journey through their First Lego competition,” said Merklinger, the after school coordinator and team coach. “They started the school year by simply free building with Legos and gradually the students worked their way up to understanding the problem, learning how to code, coming up with and executing a solution to their problem. At the end of the competition they walked away with a trophy and a future architect’s award.”
“We are looking forward to our continued involvement with the First program and hope to bring more of the Hillel STEAM initiative to the forefront,” said Sortore. “I am thankful to Miss Merklinger and the Hillel staff and families for their support and enthusiasm.”
For more information, visit hillelschool.org or call (585) 271-6877.