Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2013


YMF - Lego League Challenge

By Amy Choi

The First Lego League Challenge is an annual competition for elementary to middle school students. The students get together in teams and each team is challenged to use their critical thinking skills in science and math. This year the Challenge was themed “Nature’s Fury”. The teams were required to identify a community that was in danger of a natural disaster. Then they had to identify the problem and create an innovative solution that would help the residents prepare for the disaster, stay safe and/or rebuild the community. Team S.H.I.E.L.D. was composed of several bright students ranging from ages 10 to 13. The young students brainstormed ideas and eventually built a prototype beam that reinforced a house that could withstand a falling tree during a hurricane. They constructed their own beams made of balsa wood and steel wires, and tested its durability by dropping weights at different heights. After their initial round of testing, they contacted ASCE OC YMF. The team requested assistance in understanding their test results and also asked for possible improvements that could be made. Amy Choi and Curtis Wong - two OC YMF members - volunteered to spend a day with Team S.H.I.E.L.D. to teach them different types of shears that occur on a beam once a weight is dropped. They also provided suggestions on how to strengthen the team's beams. The students asked in-depth questions, which illustrated their quick understanding of the basics of shears, as well as their eagerness to learn more. After an educational and fun-filled day, Team S.H.I.E.L.D. was excited to return and test their newly improved beam to further prepare for the competition. On November 9, 2013, Team S.H.I.E.L.D. competed in Orange County and won the Judge’s Award. They also qualified to be the alternate team for the State Level competition and will be competing in December at Legoland. ASCE OC YMF wishes them good luck at the state level competition!

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