Vienna Junior First Lego League Teams from around the county gathered at Colvin Run Elementary School Saturday, March 17 for a day to show what could be the future of food safety. Eight teams, including two from Colvin Run and one from Great Falls Elementary School, participated.
Students were invited to use Lego bricks to create models of inventions that could help with food safety. Teams picked foods or services they like, such as potato chip or a doughnut shop, and created a system for making sure their "products" could be prepared, stored and served in a safe way.
Lego Expo Awards
Amazing Movement award: MACHINE, Colvin Run Elementary School. Harrison Langpaul, Maxwell Dumas, Alec Butler, Danny O’Connor, Will Piper and Dean Angles.
Simply Awesome Machine award: Lego Spies, Colvin Run Elementary School. Christian Hansen, Shilai Li, Parker Hoang, Cameron Beem, Nicolas Musy, Gavin Smith.
Magnificent Minds award: Lego Crushers, Great Falls Elementary School. Jack Bateman, Will Kiser, Gabe Paier, Shibli Nomani, Colleen Sherry, Andreas Voyages.
Reaching for the Sky award: Boloubots, Hallaboulou, Ruth Morgan, Eric Gamble, Jake Wilson, Bella Boson, Asa Moran.
Explosive Ideas award: Flaming Foodineers, Greenbriar West Elementary School. Adrian Kim, Ryan Chee, Ryan Choi, Ria Agrawal, Rakendu Malladi.
Brilliant Brains award: Soaring Eagles, Floris Elementary School. Dhriti Gampa, Raj Vats, Advika Jhingran, Maansi Taori, Arnav Batra.
Rising Stars award: All Star Lego Team: Floris Elementary School: Vikas Nanduri, Anand Vinod, Ryan Tuller, Raghav Tirumale.
Fantastic Design award: The Brick Tank, Leesburg, Va.: Alexandra Danilowicz, Matty Coyle, Auston Johnson.
THE LEGO SPIES TEAM, from Colvin Run Elementary, created a chocolate chip cookie factory out of their Lego bricks. The team designed a bakery in the back and restaurant in the front, with a conveyor belt taking their freshly made donuts from the back to the customers.
"Everybody eats cookies, and though they may not be as healthy as vegetables, they taste really good, and that’s why people like them," said Colvin Run team member Christian Hansen.
Cameron Beem, another team member, said he enjoyed the research part of the project. The team went on three separate field trips as part of their preparation.
"We went to a place that made food for airplanes, and we got to see how much food they made, but also how clean they kept it at all times," he said. "We also went to the Potomac Vegetable Farm to learn about where milk, eggs and butter came from, and the same day we went to Colvin Run Mill, where we saw how grain is turned into flour."
The Brick Tank, a team made up of students from Leesburg, also had a sweet tooth in mind for their project. They created a donut shop, and team member Gage Bennett predicted that "this shop could make about a million dollars per day, that’s how much everybody loves the doughnut shop."
The Lego Crushers, a group of third graders from Great Falls Elementary School, created the "Diningsaurus Snack Attack 3000," a device that had a wide variety of applications, including food delivery, cheese grating and an emergency delivery vehicle to make sure al food deliveries get through.
"We started simple, but when we got the idea of a dinosaur, we started to add more and more," said team member Colleen Sherry. "Our research was fun too, we went to the Safeway and saw how food was delivered, stored, packaged and sold."
Team member Will Kiser said the process consisted of "a lot of trial and error, but we were able to put a lot of our ideas on top of each other, and they fit together better once we started adding wheels."
EACH TEAM won a prize for their efforts, and students from the First Lego League team based out of Kilmer Middle School and members of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Ambassadors program served as judges.
"Our goal as ambassadors is to support events like this and other science events to help students get involved in the science and technology mindset from an early age," said Thomas Jefferson freshman Annie Thomas. "That way, they’ll be able to figure out what they like early on."
Kilmer eighth grader Dhriti Vij said the experience was a welcome window into the world of the younger members of First Lego League.
"I never did Junior First Lego League, so it was cool to see how these students start off with their designs," she said.