Region’s elementary school students celebrate and build skills at robotics Fun Day
Posted on 05/15/2018
Hundreds of Elementary School students from Prince William and Manassas schools, along with crowds of spectators, were on hand at the eighth annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Fun Day on Saturday, May 12 at Osbourn Park High School.

The event is a combination game challenge, skills-building and training session, and celebration for a successful season of FLL. These young robotics students demonstrate their building and programming skills as their robots complete a series of missions in a 2.5-minute competitive game revolved around this year’s theme, Hydro Dynamics. The robots are built using LEGO pieces, and run on an autonomous program the students coded themselves. No remote control devices are used for this event.

Cody, a third grader at Glenkirk Elementary, thought his team did well with the Hydro Dynamics challenge missions. “I’m proud of us for learning a new mission and our robot getting the tripod into the circle,” he said.

The FLL Fun Day is supported by middle and high school robotics students who serve as referees and judges for these younger robotics students. They are also mentors, sharing tips and suggestions for programming and operating the LEGO robots.

“The judges were awesome,” praised Theresa Koenig, the FLL coach at Mary J. Porter Traditional School. “They took their time to explain to the students what they did that was good, and what improvements they could make.”

Bel Air Elementary coach Amanda Jewell was thrilled that she and her students were able to attend this annual event. “I really appreciated the older refs helping the students and encouraging them,” she commented. “They gave us little pointers after the matches to help tweak what we needed to in order to be more successful.”

The celebration aspects of Fun Day include group dances, a party atmosphere, and the chance to interact with other school teams. The “SWAG SWAP,” where teams exchange items with their logo and likeness, was a big hit with the students.

"I liked FLL Fun Day because it was fun meeting new people and trading with other teams,” said Kerrydale Elementary fourth grader Kameren. “I even saw some of my old friends who had moved to different schools. I liked seeing how other school's robots were different from ours, and I learned some new ways to program.”

FLL is one of the many robotics programs currently in Prince William County Public Schools, and one of two open to elementary school students. Nearly every PWCS elementary was represented at this year’s Fun Day.

For more information about PWCS Robotics, contact Denyse Carroll at carroldm@pwcs.edu.