Last year at Georgia’s Ed Tech conference, I heard Beth Hughes speak about coaching a first year LEGO League robotics team. She did a wonderful job of pointing out potential gotchas so that I could be ready for the experience.

Well, I’ve taken the plunge and signed my school up for a team. Eight young men in grades 4 through 7 are now the Chrysalis Crushers.

The league fits in really well with my school’s philosophies. Even our name — Chrysalis Experiential Academy — challenges me to “make it experiential” in my classroom every day. If that means engage the students and develop their internal motivation, the kids have taken to this project in a way that John Dewey would be proud of. For example, they’ve identified team sponsorship and specialized roles for each team member as areas that need their attention.

My team meets daily as an elective course. A major advantage is the sheer quantity of meeting time we have. I hope this helps us in being prepared for our first tournament in December. I’m also thrilled to have two team members interested in spearheading the research project. According to Beth’s advice, dedicating part of your team to the project is important for getting it done.

The team: Chrysalis Crushers

Our next big milestone is the Challenge reveal on September 5. That’s when we find out the particulars of this year’s robot game (kind of an obstacle course for robots) and the research project.

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