Lego League builds younger crowd
Some students in District 51 are building jungles, skyscrapers and roads in their classrooms after school.
These miniature worlds are populated by robots and built out of Legos — part of an after-school club that engages students in science, technology, engineering and math — and for the first time, the clubs are available to students as young as 6 years old.
The First Lego League Jr. program already has six clubs at three elementary schools, according to Andrea Chamorro, a senior at Palisade High School who is involved with the high school version of the club.
Chamorro oversees the three teams at Pomona Elementary. There are two at New Emerson Elementary and one at Dual Immersion Academy.
This is the first year that students between 6 and 10 years old have been able to participate. Middle-school and high-school clubs first started in the school district in 2012.
“We are very much about community outreach and service, and I wanted to be able to spread the passion I have for (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM to the younger kids here in the Grand Valley,” Chamorro said.
At first, Chamorro was helping spread the word that the club was open to younger students, and later decided to take on a coaching role at Pomona.
“I’ve found that (the students) are incredibly knowledgeable, more than I would expect, and they are very creative,” Chamorro said. “Typically most adults prefer to have the instructions to build something, but kids can be given a prompt and let their imagination fly when they’re building.”
That’s one of the best parts for third-grader Rania Quesenberry.
“I really like that we have instructions but that we mostly figure it out on our own,” she said. “Everyone is included and everyone has an opportunity to share their ideas.”
Fourth-grade students Max Pittman and Landen Jones joined Lego teams because they both loved working with Legos already.
“I like the engineering part of it because I like making stuff move and challenging myself,” Landen said.
“I’ve been working with Legos for a while now, and I really like creating new things,” Max said.
Currently the students are working toward a Dec. 10 exhibition at Redlands Middle School that will focus on an animal theme.