It is that time of year again, when countless young LEGO aficionados across a dozen countries put on their thinking caps and get together with like-minded LEGO ninjas in basements and halls to solve real-world challenges using nothing more than insatiable curiosity, unbridled imagination, critical thinking, passionate team work and countless LEGO bricks. It is Jr.FLL time!
Jr.FLL, aka Junior First LEGO League, is an international non-competitive and community-based hands-on robotics program designed to capture young children’s inherent curiosity and direct it toward discovering the possibilities of improving the world around them. Each year Jr.FLL presents a new and exciting challenge to ignite the inherent creativity in young children. In this year's challenge, entitled Disaster Blaster, over 22,000 children ages 6 to 9 from 12 countries will explore the awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves and more that we call natural disasters. Teams will learn how science, technology, engineering, and math impact our everyday lives while they get excited about future innovations. While exploring the challenge, teams will learn about simple machines as they build a model made of LEGO elements with a motorized part and learn to present information through a poster.
For last year's challenge our Allendale Community League sponsored a Jr.FLL team - the Allendale LEGO Kids. Over a period of 10 weeks six children from our community learned about some of the obstacles some people face as they grow older. As part of the research the team visited other local teams, went on a field trip to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, interviewed Mayor Stephen Mandel, and showcased their work in the annual Expo at NAIT. The Allendale LEGO Kids are back and are now recruiting team members for this year's challenge.
This program is sponsored by the Allendale Community League and is open to children between the ages of 6-9 that are members of the league. We will be meeting roughly once a week at the hall starting end of October or beginning of November. In addition to the weekly meetings several field trips are likely to take place and in January 2014 we aim to participate in the annual Jr.FLL Expo at NAIT. There will be a nominal fee levied by the ACL to participate in this program (details TBD).
Applications of interest are accepted until midnight Sunday October 6 at http://therocketscientists.ca/jrfll-2013/. The number of spaces are limited.
Currently we only have a single team, but if additional parents, grandparents, aunties, or uncles would step up to the plate and volunteer to coach a JrFLL team of their own, more children would be able to participate. If you are interested in coaching you can find more information about the program at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/jr.fll.
Brace yourself for Disaster Blaster!
Science classrooms are unique learning environments unlike any other classrooms. As a matter of fact, some things only happen in science classrooms. Here is a collection of event that happened in my own science classroom over the last school year. It's a growing list, so check back for updates.
Report from yours truly live-tweeting and navigating the melee at GETCA 2015 (Annual Greater Edmonton Teachers' Conference).
Can a pencil be more than just your average run of the mill pencil? The legendary Palomino Blackwing Pearl can take a student or teacher's writing to new heights. We have taken a batch of the Pearls for a spin and are blown away by how much writing and sketching can be transformed by this unassuming pencil.
Dr. Pineda's Classroom is going YouTube with the release of its first screencast on the exciting topic of calculating percents. Only time will tell if this is the start of something big and shiny or just a passing fad.
After several weeks working on setting up habitats for new classroom animals the big day finally arrived. The newest addition to our classroom include aquatic denizens in our new aquarium and a teenage bearded dragon with lots of attitude and no table manners.