JW Students Explore Space!

John Winthrop Students Create Unique Space Exploration Projects and Compete in FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition
Posted on 11/20/2018
8th Grade Lego Team

On November 10th, two teams from John Winthrop Middle School competed in the Big Bird Bonanza FIRST LEGO League Robotics Contest in Farmington, CT.  Over 220 teams participated at one of eight competitions throughout the state. FIRST LEGO League challenges students to think like scientists and engineers.They build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions in the robot game. While both JW teams performed competitively, the 8th grade team came close to making it to the state championships scoring the fifth highest mission points at the competition. 


Throughout the competition season, teams must demonstrate a set of core values including celebrating discovery, teamwork, and professionalism. Teams also must choose and solve a real-world problem for the project portion of the competition.  This year’s theme was Into Orbit, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. Both teams identified a problem in space exploration and performed research to brainstorm and create a solution. They then had to share their project with a professional in a related field.  Both teams contacted illustrious leaders in space technology. The eight graders reached out to NASA and received a personal response from the Chief Engineer of NASA, John R. Roe, Jr., who stated that the students had “characterized the problem well and thought about the right kind of solutions”. The 7th graders gained key feedback from Dr. Sean Carey, Senior Staff Scientist at the California Institute of Technology and the Manager of the NASA’s Spitzer Center at Caltech.

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