Apple Valley, Calif. (news release) – Two LEGO Robotics teams are gearing up for competition at Vanguard Preparatory School. The Vanguard Nuclear Narwhals and the Vanguard Water Falcons have been practicing since the start of the school year under the direction of their robotics teacher and coach, Jared Wolf.
“We’re using tons of cognitive development, ways they’re going to think about how to accomplish a task,” said Wolf. “I’ll give them hints along the way, but for the most part they have to figure it out. They keep trying and keep trying and eventually they find it. They’re really learning how to take adversity and not give up with it.”
“It’s amazing how much they do, and how much they build, and how much they learn how to code on their own,” Wolf added. “They all have to decide who does what and how to work together.”
The Vanguard teams place a high value on teamwork, which is a key component of the FIRST LEGO League Core Values. Jared McCartney, a member of the Nuclear Narwhals team, explained that each student is given a specific job. “Anthony programs, Jesse takes care of the problems with the robots and I set it up,” he explained. “It gives you more problem-solving and teaches you about teamwork.”
“It’s pretty hard making the robot if you aren’t working together,” student Joseph Rangel added. “Say we all got mad at each other, we couldn’t work together.”
In addition to practicing important values such as teamwork and sportsmanship, students are also given the opportunity to sharpen their knowledge of science and mathematics. “Mathematics plays such an important key because if you’re off one measurement everything gets thrown out of whack,” said Wolf. “It’s all about finding the exact precision and the path that your robot needs to go.”
The teams will compete at the upcoming High Desert FIRST LEGO League Tournament on Nov. 11. The teams will compete against fifteen other student groups, including several talented squads from Apple Valley Unified’s Mariana Academy and Yucca Loma Elementary School. In addition to the two LEGO robotics teams, the school also has a VEX robotics team of eighth grade students preparing to compete in Murrieta in January.