Using Legos, Merrimack students learn about science

Some learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) came with boxes and bags and big plastic bins full of colorful Lego blocks that around 75 students in grades 1-4 from Merrimack’s three elementary schools used to create some finely crafted Lego projects. The event was presented at Thorntons Ferry Elementary School, 134 Camp Sargent Road, on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

The gathering of youngsters from Thorntons Ferry Elementary, Reeds Ferry Elementary and Mastricola Elementary schools who attended the FIRST Lego League Jr.’s assembly on that evening encountered a stimulating program. The program was centered on the Aqua Adventure Challenge, a FIRST Lego League Jr. theme for 2017-18. The challenge is designed to teach STEM concepts to kids ages 6-10 through use of the popular play toys, Legos. Volunteers from Merrimack High School’s Chop Shop 166 robotics team and many other helpers assisted throughout the evening.

Medals and applause rewarded the efforts of young team members who designed or assisted in the construction of various projects erected at dozens of folding tables gracing the gymnasium. The Aqua Adventure Challenge’s exploration of water and its journey from source to community led to the building of small pumps, the programming of motorized parts and demonstrations of key ideas through posters and graphics that were shared among the teams of young science moguls.

Chad Coolidge, Lego League coordinator, welcomed a large crowd of parents, students and friends and commended the effort to share learning about scientific concepts in a way that is fun. Julie DeLuca, assistant principal at Thorntons Ferry Elementary concurred. The pair congratulated all the youngsters on accomplishing a fine range of tasks that explored science through Lego constructions.

Then, Katie Coolidge, 10, a fourth-grade, science-

minded student at Thorntons Ferry who had assisted her dad, Chad, in handing out dozens of medals at the event’s award ceremony, tackled the packing of yet another box of hundreds of Lego blocks destined for transport to storage until needed for another FIRST Lego League Jr. event.