Friday Feel Good: Students Start First LEGO League Robotics Team

Last year, on Giving Tuesday, Oakdale Elementary School received a $1,000 grant from the Greater Salina Community Foundation to start a First LEGO League Robotics team. First LEGO League is a national robotics building competition that gives students a real-world problem to solve as a team. They work together to design and program the LEGO robots to complete tasks, then meet for regional tournaments to share their knowledge, compare ideas and display their robots.

“This grant provided us with funds to get the program started. Without the funding, we would not have had the money to purchase the after-school snacks, pay for the entry fee for the competition, or purchase the team t-shirts,” said Kay Barriger, Oakdale robotics coach. “In other words, the program would not exist without the funding.”

Fourth and fifth grade students at Oakdale were assisted after school by school teachers and mentored by high school students from the Salina Central High Schools First Robotics Team 3172. Barriger said she has seen tremendous growth in the students who were on the team last year.

“The students demonstrated teamwork as they built the robot and agreed on a problem that they would address,” said Barriger. “The most impressive difference I have noticed is that the students are better-behaved, and they treat others with respect. Furthermore, I’ve seen a growing interest in programming.”

To address that growing interest, Oakdale Elementary was awarded another community foundation grant this week on Giving Tuesday. The team plans to attend a regional competition in Hesston, Kansas, on December 14, 2019.