FIRST LEGO League Competitions and Interview with Katelyn Greene

FIRST LEGO League Competitions and Interview with Katelyn Greene

DPEA students Mentor Elementary School FIRST LEGO League Teams.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a program under the FIRST umbrella organization, is a program geared towards elementary school students with the goal of fostering real-world and hands-on scientific learning. Each year, students across the world engage in this competition. In Santa Barbara, participating mentors and students alike have already performed remarkably well in this year’s FLL season. Notably, two local elementary FLL teams schools particularly shone: Peabody Charter School and Foothill School won their respective local and regional tournaments. Foothill will continue on to compete in the Nationals Championship Tournament at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California in May 2013.

In addition, DPEA is proud to recognize that senior Katelyn Greene won the Youth Adult Mentor Award at the 2012 Cal Lutheran FLL Qualifying Tournament for her work with Peabody Charter School’s team. For Katelyn, winning the award was “completely unexpected”, and she is “genuinely shocked” to be recognized. She recalls that she grabbed the notice of officials at the competition by replacing a referee who had failed to show up. Although at first she was “really nervous”, she nevertheless pulled through and had fun, partly due to her previous refereeing experience at an earlier Peabody Practice Tournament.

Her greatest pride, though, comes from mentoring Peabody Charter School’s FLL team, “The Flaming Pancakes.” For her, it was in watching the students progress throughout the season with programming and building that was most rewarding. Along the journey, Katelyn discovered a few worthy things about teaching kids: “although a solution maybe obvious to me” she said, “I've come to understand that it's better to give [the kids] hints and let them figure things out on their own because it encourages them to be more independent and to be better problem solvers in the future.”

FIRST, she noted, is an excellent program for both high school mentors and participating students alike. For elementary students, participating in FLL combines the challenges of working in a team as well as developing early math and science skills. “The passion that the kids develop for STEM,” noted Katelyn “will carry with them far beyond elementary school.” And lastly, she can testify to the value of working as a mentor: working with the kids every step of the way through obstacles and frustrations, and in the process, gaining satisfaction and an opportunity to give back to the community. Working as a mentor, noted Katelyn, “truly is a rewarding experience, and I would encourage any interested students to get involved!”

In addition to Katelyn Green, 11 other DPEA students mentored elementary students during Fall 2012:

Anthony Blair -Mountain View, Paul Bramsen – Hollister, Nicolas Jones - Mountain View, Evan Lew - Isla Vista, Varsha Manjunath – Foothill, Bryce Marshall – Hollister, Madeline Matthys – Montessori, Kyle Riharb –Foothill, Ellen Seale – Montessori, Nicolas Vanhecke- Mountain View, Serina Zepeda - Isla Vista