Thursday, April 09, 2020

SAR Academy was privileged to host its second FIRST Lego League (FLL) qualifying tournament on Sunday, February 2. Twenty-two teams from various schools and organizations in New York City competed at SAR, and 10 teams were chosen to advance to the next level of competition. After months of effort and collaboration, SAR’s FLL team, Super Awesome Robots, earned an award for its innovative solution at Sunday’s event and secured a spot in the next level of competition which will take place on March 1, in Brooklyn.

FIRST is a non-profit and a global movement transforming lives and inspiring future innovators and problem solvers. In 1998, FIRST and The LEGO Group partnered to create this program with the hope of engaging young people and providing hands-on STEM learning.

SAR Academy formed its inaugural FLL team four years ago with members of its middle school and has enjoyed preparing for and attending qualifying tournaments over the last number of years. Each year, the team improves, gaining experience from the previous years’ work. SAR FLL coaches, Dr. Chaya Fine and Laura Weiss, led a team of seven students this year who worked many hours, both in and after school, to complete their team project. Dr. Fine recounted, “It was amazing to see the commitment that our team members showed. Some of our students came to SAR during vacation and stayed many additional hours after school as the competition approached.”

Each year, the competition has a different theme and teams are judged on four equally important components: The robot game, robot design, a research project and core values. This year’s theme, City Shapers, engaged students in the study of various aspects of city planning. First, the students programmed EV3 robots to solve various challenges on the FLL robot game board. SAR’s research project involved an innovative solution to the dangers that protected bike lanes are posing to pedestrians throughout the city. Weiss noted that “being able to discuss our ideas with members of the West Side community board was not only a great way for our team to share their innovative idea, but also provided the students with a greater sense of the various issues that the city faces when planning changes.”

SAR thanks the Engineering Club from Yeshiva University and FLL volunteers for serving as judges and referees, allowing the competition to run smoothly and fairly. SAR’s FLL 2019-20 team includes sixth and seventh graders: Eddie Bohm, Nate Ehrenhaus, Yedidya Fine, Aryeh Hirshaut, Daniel Hirshaut, Hila Loeser and Barbara Sasson.