Trailridge Elementary Timberbots robotics team members visited the National Weather Station in Pleasant Hill Sept. 18 as they begin working on the FIRST LEGO League’s challenge.
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO challenge is Nature’s Fury this year.
Through this competition, students must find a solution to help a specific city prepare, stay safe or rebuild after a natural disaster. Students choose a city and a disaster that might impact that city. They contact city managers to find out how that city deals with a disaster.
“Part of their work is to talk with ‘experts,’ so one of the things we did this summer was contact experts and set up opportunities for our Timberbots to talk with them,” said Jayne Hartwig, Trailridge Elementary teacher who coaches the team with her husband, Michael Hartwig.
Approximately 35 Trailridge students visited the weather station to tour the site and ask questions. They learned how the weather station helps communities prepare for and stay safe during natural disasters. Before the visit, the students prepared their own questions pertaining to the disaster they selected.
“I was so impressed by how engaged and attentive our kids were during this event,” Hartwig added. “They were so fascinated by what happens behind the scene at a weather station and how the work they do helps keep our community safe.”
Due to the increased interest in robotics, Trailridge Elementary expanded its program. The Hartwigs are now coaching three teams and sponsoring a fourth team at Trailridge. The three Trailridge teams are The Challengers, The Problem Solverz and the MegaBots. Trailridge also sponsors Team Aluminum, affiliated with Lee’s Summit West High School Team Titanium. The fourth team meets with the other three teams on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school and every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Team Titanium provides mentors for the Trailridge teams and joins the elementary students at events.
All four teams plus about five Team Titanium mentors and a handful of parents joined Trailridge on the trip to Pleasant Hill.