Though they may be small, the Carson Montessori First Lego League Jr. team is big in talent.
The six-student team is going to the world competition next month in Houston to compete against 60 elementary-level teams, the first junior level team from Carson City to make it to worlds.
The team calls themselves the Golden Dragons and is comprised of first and second grade students Gavin Andree, Jordyn Montgomery, Shaylee Erickson, Ethan Suarez, Sujway Yedunuthula and Jackson Isom. Clad in yellow and black T-shirts and multicolored spiked hats, team members meet each week to work on their model, free model and work on team building activities to bring the team together and teach them about different core values. The team is built on six values: teamwork, do the work, find an answer, share experiences and discoveries, be helpful/kind/respectful with gracious professionalism, we are all winners and have fun.
“A big part is the core values, it is to build and innovate, but a big part is the teamwork and having fun and helping each other,” said coach Tonia Andree.
The coaches hope with team building activities, the students learn important skills such as teamwork, listening and problem solving.
An important part of the competition is the teams all help each other out during the competition.
“What is unique is that they really emphasize helping other teams succeed,” said coach Marco Erickson.
The theme for this year’s competition was Aqua Adventure, meaning the students had to pick a water use in the human water interaction cycle and find a way to improve it. The Golden Dragons decided to build a model of the former Carson City ice rink out of Legos, where they would use the leftover water from the rink to use in the irrigation system in the park.
“I like the most that we learn about how the rink is made and get along as a team,” said second grader Jordyn Montgomery.
To do this, the students researched for several months, taking field trips and talking with city officials to learn more about how the rink is built and how water flows in Carson City to make the most accurate solution.
“It is pretty basic, but for kids this age, it is a huge accomplishment for them to do and we are so excited to go,” said Erickson. “You think of sports teams, it is so difficult to go to worlds.”
The coaches said they’re excited for the students to have the opportunity to meet different people from around the world in the few days they will be in Houston.
“There are so many people from around the world and they are exposed to different cultures, it is a huge opportunity to see lots of great things,” said Andree.
Not only are the kids exposed to different people, but the program itself opens doors for the students in the future. Erickson said the Lego League Jr. is a great stop toward robotics, engineering and other STEM careers.
And Carson Montessori was thrilled to sign off on its first Lego team this past August.
“We are a STEAM school so real-world, hands-on is always better,” said Montessori Principal Jessica Daniels.