Lego teams keep coming

Published 10:44 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

At one point in the newsroom this week, I exclaimed to no one in particular that if I had to write another story in the near future about Suffolk students participating in the First Lego League, I might momentarily lose my happy camper status.

This month I’ve written three articles on the topic, starting with the Lego experiences of two teams sporting Suffolk students, one independent of any school and the other based out of Isle of Wight Academy.

In chronicling the experiences of these two teams in Nov. 12’s edition, I thought I had covered the waterfront in terms of the Lego robotics competition’s influence in Suffolk.

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I was wrong. A week or so later, one of my regular sources at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School reached out about that school’s involvement in the competition.

After a second story, I sat back to reflect that the loose ends had been tied.

Wrong again. It just so happened that Nansemond-Suffolk Academy also fielded a team in the league. So I got out from behind my desk and drove out there to investigate during one of its rigorous training sessions.

It was before I left on that excursion, faced with the prospect of writing a third Lego story in two weeks, that I vented my frustration to the gods.

At this point, one may rightfully question why, given that reaction, I’ve volunteered to write a fourth piece about the ingenious multi-colored bricks and the positive influence they’re having on the education of Suffolk students.

It’s because that little tantrum was a thing of the past after seeing the Muffin Knights, as the NSA team is called, strut their stuff in coach Michele Bossick’s classroom.

From my school days, I remember learning about science, technology, engineering and math, the ultra-important STEM subjects people are always talking about, from boring textbooks and slides on overhead projectors.

Lego, which I was an enthusiast of, was something I kept in a plastic tub under my bed. It was only present in a classroom if it had been smuggled in.

The merging of STEM lessons and Lego, and doing it in a competitive manner, is a great idea, and rarely have I seen students have so much fun while learning.

This column, of course, runs the risk of enticing from the woodwork more unreported First Lego League teams from Suffolk. Bring it on.