Today was a big day for the members of our two Jr. FLL teams, the Super Sonic Seniors and the Ultimate Elderlies. The coaches and kids, along with family and friends, hopped into cars, and drove from Los Angeles to Carlsbad, CA for the largest Jr. FLL Expo in the world. Over 100 Jr. FLL teams will attend one of four Expo sessions this weekend in which they share their research projects and posters with other teams and judges from the Legoland staff.
As I mentioned in a previous post, this year’s Jr. FLL research theme is “Super Seniors”, involving an interview with a senior citizen, and research into some change that the senior noticed in her lifetime. The Super Sonic Seniors put together a poster detailing the history and development of television and built a model of a television containing a rotating stage with two scenes. Placing the TV “remote” in front of a distance sensor in the model triggers the rotation of the stage, which changes the content and “channel” being shown on the television. The Ultimate Elderlies researched the evolution of long distance communication, doing detailed research on the Pony Express, the telegraph, cell phones and emails as successive improvements in mankind’s ability to communicate. Their LEGO model contained Lego renditions of each of these modes of communication, including a motor-driven telegraph that made a very realistic clicking sound, and a scene of a LEGO driver using his cell phone in a car, only to be pulled over by a policeman.
30 teams, including ours, took part in the morning Expo session. Kids on the teams ranged in age from 5 to 9 years old, and brought in a wide variety of projects and presentations. Each team spent half of the time at its station so that it could explain its model and presentation to others, and then spent the other half of the Expo session viewing the other teams’ projects. It was just like a miniaturized scientific conference for kids. Most of the teams wore matching t-shirts. All of the kids there shared a big sense of enthusiasm and pride in their accomplishments and were excited to share their projects with the other teams. Some project ideas were helpful, including an invention to help Seniors load groceries into their car and a very advanced motorized wheelchair, and some were fanciful like the LEGO motorized pill dispenser and the rocket ship that used the sun’s gravity to launch itself into space. All of the projects were creative and interesting to view. Our teams received some great questions, including one on how a television remote works that almost (but not quite) stumped the team members. People really liked playing with the LEGO model to “change” the TV channel. At the end of the morning Expo session, the teams gathered in front of the Legoland Miniland stage for a “high-five” session to acknowledge their hard work, and give every team member a ribbon and certificate. The teams were not judged competitively, but they did receive positive feedback on what the judges found noteworthy about their projects.
After the “high five” ceremony finished at 12:30, we were free to hang out in Legoland for the rest of the day, an opportunity that did not go to waste. All in all, it was a terrific culmination of 8 weeks of hard work on the part of our teams and their coaches. As a coach and as a mom, I’m very proud of all the kids and their accomplishments.