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Hundreds of Students Compete in Lego Competition

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A simple childhood toy is being used to develop some complex ideas for emergency preparedness during natural disasters. Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

Seventh grader Dylan Tyler received high fives from teammates during the First Lego League qualifying competition in downtown Brooklyn on Saturday.

"It is a lot of engineering, too and a lot of creativity. You have to find innovative ways and it doesn't matter if the technology doesn't exist now, you can just kind of make it up as you go along,” said Dylan, a student as IS 318.

Students not only have to develop a working robotic creation, but also a research project falling under this year's theme of nature's fury, a topic teacher Russ Holstein says the students have really responded to especially after Hurricane Sandy.

"We brought that office of Emergency Management in. We reached out to professionals. We had kids emailing, writing letters, and now we might even get them to train with OEM and do an auditorium for the entire school,” said IS 318 teacher Russ Holstein.

About 400 students competed Saturday at the NYU School of Engineering.

The goal is to get students and their teachers excited about science, technology, engineering and math programs.

"It is truly exciting for kids. The exposure to real world technologies to sophisticated concepts in engineering that go along with robotics in fields like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science are things that kids don’t usually get to experience in most school settings,” said Ben Esner, director of Center for K-12 STEM Education.

For the kids at the competition on Saturday, it seems to be working.

"You get to have lots of fun. You get to watch teams perform all that they have learned from the last two months,” said PS 261 student Nyan Lieberthal.

"It’s just giving me a basic guide on learning,” said Juniliah John of Science and Medicine Middle School.

"This is a very good experience and it is good to work and share with people,” said Claire Mayers of Madiba Prep Middle School.

For Dylan Tyler, it is a day to show off his all his hard work.

"My favorite part of today is just going around and seeing the fruit of my labor,” said Dylan.
The winners from this event will go on to the regional competition at the Javits Center and from there the nationals in St. Louis.

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