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B. Mac’s first LEGO Team earns trophy for teamwork skills

B. McDaniel’s FIRST LEGO League Team recently became a force to be reckoned with, thanks to generous grants from the Denison Education Foundation, Ruiz 4 Kids and Title IV funds. Together, that generosity allowed science teacher Elena Kinghorn to purchase LEGO Mindstorms Robots for the school’s hugely successful Gifted and Talented Program.

“I implemented the LEGO Mindstorms Robots into our GT curriculum at the beginning of last year, and the program was an instant success,” said Kinghorn. “The kids really loved it. They enjoyed planning, building and interacting with their robots, using their imaginations and problem-solving skills throughout the process to build some really amazing robots. It started the wheels turning.”

Fast forward one year, to when an involved and pro-active parent, Jennifer Rex, told Kinghorn about the FIRST LEGO League competition and offered to help coach an inaugural B. Mac team.

“We’re so fortunate to have Jennifer involved and willing to help. She’s been invaluable in taking our program to the next level,” said Kinghorn. “Because of limited resources, we opened the first team in August to our 6th grade GT students only. Of the original 25 students who considered joining the team, 10 were chosen based on high interest levels.”

Two days after Labor Day 2019, the team began meeting two days a week after school and three days a week during B. Mac’s FLEX time, preparing for the upcoming LEGO First competition on December 7th at Conrad High School in Dallas. According to Kinghorn, the students had to compete in three prescribed categories, each with specific requirements.

Category 1 required competitors to identify a problem in a community with a public building or space, conduct research, find a solution to the problem and present their findings to a panel of judges. “The problem our students identified involved children with sensory issues who might not be able to attend football games due to loud noises,” said Kinghorn. “Their solution was to create a soundproof area at Munson Stadium to allow the families with children who have sensory issues, such as autism, to attend games in a more comfortable setting.”

Category 2 required the students to build a robot and program it to complete specific missions. “They had 2.5 minutes at the judges’ table for their robot to complete its defined missions while scoring as many points as possible,” said Kinghorn. “They did a really impressive and commendable job.”

Category 3 required successful teamwork. “There was a set of Core Values that the students learned about, and they had to display to the judges how they implemented and exhibited those core values in their teamwork,” said Kinghorn. “They really excelled in this category, earning 2nd place honors and a coveted trophy. Teamwork is crucial to success in all areas of life, so I am particularly proud of this high achievement. The students learned a lot and had fun working together as a team. We’re very grateful to our Denison Education Foundation and Ruiz 4 Kids for funding the grants that helped enable us to implement this program…and we’re all looking forward to next year’s competition.”

LEGO teamwork at Conrad HS

B. McDaniel’s 6th grade GT students displayed superior teamwork skills to earn a prestigious trophy at the 2019 LEGO FIRST team competition at Conrad High School in Dallas. “Category 3 required students to implement and exhibit rigorous core values in their presentation to the judges,” said B. Mac science and GT teacher Elena Kinghorn. “Teamwork is crucial to success in all areas of life, so I am particularly proud of this high achievement.”

BMAC LEGO team making adjustments to the robot

LEGO FIRST Team members at B. McDaniel Intermediate School spent many hours tweaking their robot before taking it to LEGO FIRST League competition at Conrad High School in Dallas.

Three BMAC students program the LEGO robot

Category 2 in the FIRST LEGO League competition required B. McDaniel’s 6th grade GT students to build a robot and program it to complete specific missions, which the students spent many hours doing in preparation for the recent 2019 contest at Conrad High School in Dallas.

BMAC LEGO team collaborates on the upcoming competition

Collaboration was key to the trophy B. McDaniel’s LEGO FIRST Team members won for exhibiting superior core values and teamwork skills throughout their presentation at this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition at Conrad High School in Dallas.

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