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First Lego League Junior hosts moon base expo

February 13, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

On Feb. 7, the Austintown Intermediate School (AIS) cafeteria was full with K-fourth graders and their parents. It was all part of the AES/AIS FIRST Lego League Jr. Expo with students learning a lot about science through an imaginary trip to the Moon.

"The theme this year was Mission Moon," said Andy Yantes, FIRST senior mentor. "The kids learned how we could manage to live on the moon."

The AES/AIS FIRST Lego League Junior club is an after school program. Students from kindergarten through fourth grade meet once a week after school for an hour. They are mentored by Fitch Robotics Club members and students from the National Honor Society.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier

Austintown third grader Tori Greathouse goes for a ride in a robot-powered recliner during the AES/AIS First Lego League Jr. Expo on Feb. 7 in the AIS cafeteria. The recliner was operated by Fitch High School Robotics Club mentor Bill McKenney.

This year's Lego League Junior saw 14 teams with students ranging from kindergarten through fourth grade ready to showcase what they learned during their Mission Moon Challenge. Each team was tasked with building a Moon Base using Legos and learned programming at least one element on the base.

The students have been working on the challenge since October. They followed the First LEGO League criteria of researching real-world problems. The students are challenged to develop solutions along with designing, building and programming a robot using Lego Mindstorm technology.

"I liked building the rocket ship the best," said second grader Levi Mowen.

It was as much fun for the younger students as it was for the high school mentors. Fitch senior Erin Murphy said, "I got to know the kids and teach them about robotics, and have fun doing it."

And speaking of fun, the Fitch robotics club brought their more recent "for-fun" robot. It was a previous robotics chassis and electronics that had a full-size recliner attached to it. Kids at the expo got to sit in the chair and go for a ride as the robot performed various maneuvers.



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