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Jun 5, 2018 3:47 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Springs School Celebrates Inaugural Year Of Lego League

The Springs School Lego Osprey Bosses, the school's inaugural Lego League. COURTESY BRITTNY PANNIZZO
Jun 5, 2018 3:47 PM

The school year is almost over and while some students are spending the last days of school finishing up tests and awaiting the start of their summer plans, six fifth-grade students at the Springs School last week were toasting a full year of their new club: the Springs School Lego Osprey Bosses.

Appropriately named after the school’s sports team, the Osprey Bosses are the Springs School’s first-ever Lego League.

Composed of nine fifth-graders, the league has spent seventh period on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using the popular building blocks to construct simulated miniature devices—such as a water filtration system, a pipe system and a water pump system—to solve problems related to real-world issues.

Assigned by an organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, the league was provided with a tabletop playing field with certain sections dedicated to creating individual machines that solved an issue relating to this year’s theme of hydrodynamics. The students also designed, built and programmed their own miniature robot to operate each small contraption during missions.

The Osprey Bosses were no strangers to Legos when they first signed up to join the team. On Wednesday, May 30, Daniel Ramirez boasted about the 3,600 Legos at his house, Adam Debackere said he’s used his Legos to build a computer and spaceships, and PJ Brabant mentioned that he’s built a robot of his own with Lego blocks. Loranne McMaster, meanwhile, is something of a freestyle Lego builder.

“I like to see what I can make up from scratch,” Loranne said.

Brittny Pannizzo, a science teacher and one of the teacher leaders of the league, tells the students to show off their projects and special robot, inspiring enthusiastic explanations of the school year’s worth of work. Ben Friscia talks about how the projects involve “taking things apart and rebuilding them,” and Loranne says they involve “a lot of trial and error”—though there’s not a trace of exhaustion or annoyance in their voices.

“At first it felt like ‘I’m not gonna get this for a while,’” Ben said. “Now I see how this is pretty fun. I never knew it was going to grow into this.”

Ryan Scala, a fifth-grade teacher and the other teacher leader of the Lego League, said that many of the projects have also taught the kids to use science, technology, engineering and math concepts, commonly known as STEM, to solve the missions of each Lego League project.

“It’s amazing to see them transfer the skills they learned in class to here and from here back to their classes,” Mr. Scala said. “The teaching still comes into play when it comes to problem solving.”

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