Using Robotics and Legos To Teach High Schoolers Science
Steve Adubato talks with Ernie DiCicco, Operational Partner for First Lego League in Northern New Jersey, and Mount Olive High School Robotic Team member, Drisha Mishra, who share their enthusiasm for this fascinating and fun way to learn about science and team spirit through Legos.
"We are pleased to be joined by Ernie DiCicco, who is Operational Partner for FIRST LEGO League of Northern New Jersey, and Drisha Mishra, who is a member of the Mount Olived Robotics Team. Excuse me, that is Mount Olive. Thank you... by the way, you're a junior in high school? Yes. How did you get into this whole robotics thing? I actually started off in the FLL League, and that started... No acronyms! That is the FIRST...? [laughter] FIRST LEG... FIRST LEGO League. [laughter] Got it. The FIRST LEGO League. And what hooked you? Actually, there was... there were these posters around the school that announced that they were gonna have... they were gonna start these meetings for the FIRST LEGO League, and I was never really interested in math and science, but I thought that, you know, robots, Legos, I like Legos, I might as well... You got hooked? Yeah. I might as well try. [laughter] There were a bunch of young ladies there? Actually no. There was... Actually... [laughter] No, I'm just teasing! I heard that there really weren't? Yeah. Except for me, there's one other girl, and the rest are all boys. Okay. Yeah. So here's the question. Your interest in this has gone back a little bit? And... 21 years. Okay. So, describe the FIRST LEGO League, and why... of Northern New Jersey, and why it's so important. In Northern New Jersey. It... it's a pre... little league, so to speak, for robotics, which is becoming nowadays in this state, you know, there's a big push for STEM activities. Right. Science, technology, engineering, and math? And math. We have... so we have the team at the high school, and we've had it for 21 years, and we started getting into this LEG... FIRST LEGO League, which is for the middle school kids, from 9 to 14 year olds, and it prepared them for what they would be involved in up at the high school. It's there so that they can do problem solving skills, and it's out of the box thinking in that. That's what I enjoyed. I have two sons that are engineers and that's what they got involved in. You know, we'd always be building things with... but we were taking it beyond the building factor. Yeah. You know, not just following directions. It's "what can we make out of this?" And that... that's what FIRST LEGO League is all about. It's each year the kids get a problem they have to solve. They have to build. They have a robot... Describe that. This is the kit that Lego sells. It's called an NXT MINDSTORMS kit. And they can program this..."