April 20, 2024
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SAR Academy Hosts FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Tournament

On Sunday, February 24, SAR Academy hosted a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) qualifying tournament for the first time. 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. FLL began that year with 200 teams and FIRST anticipates that this year’s INTO ORBIT season will include more than 320,000 students in nearly 100 countries around the world!

SAR Academy formed its inaugural FLL team three years ago with members of its middle school and has enjoyed participating in tournaments during the previous two years. For the 2018-19 school year, SAR FLL coaches, Dr. Chaya Fine and Laura Weiss, recruited a competitive team of participants who dedicated both in-school and after-school hours to 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 three components: The Robot Game, a research project and core values. This year’s theme, INTO ORBIT, engaged students in the study of various aspects of space travel. The students were challenged to identify and propose a solution to a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration. SAR’s FLL team focused on attempting to find a way to grow algae—a sustainable and nutritious food source—on the International Space Station.

SAR’s FLL 2018-19 team includes: Yonathan Bar, Nate Ehrenhaus, Lev Fagelson, David Farkas, Charlotte Filer, Jonah Glassberg, Ilana Haehnal, Livi Kobrin, Naomi Laskin, Barbara Sasson, Zachary Scheiner, Yoni Shapiro, Zev Shapiro, Charlie Zellner and Judah Zmood. FLL is one of many STEM- focused opportunities offered as co- and extra-curricular activities to SAR students.

SAR Academy was privileged to host an FLL qualifying tournament and invite teams from around the NYC region to compete at our school. On Sunday February 24, 16 teams competed at SAR, with four teams chosen to advance to the New York City Regionals. After months of effort and collaboration, SAR’s FLL team, “SAR’s Goin’ to Mars,” earned a first place award for robot design and secured a top four finish. The team looks forward to competing again in New York City on March 17!

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