The Nerd Herd Strikes Again!
First Lego League Competition ends for NY team.
Four students from a small parochial school in Brooklyn, New York, recently brought their home-made robot to the Jacob Javits Center to compete in the First Lego League Robotics Competition. The Scholastic Kids Press Corps has been following these kids since they began the competition in the fall.
The four students—Gregory Chin, Benjamin Kelk, Noelle Mondaya, and Nancy Fieve from St. Edmunds in Sheepshead Bay—also had to develop a new form of transportation. They used a device called a Shweeb, which is a bicycle enclosed in a clear plastic bubble that hangs from tracks just like a monorail train. Each rider in the Shweeb gets his or her own pod to travel in.
The original Shweeb, which is currently in an amusement park ride at Agroventures in New Zealand, was originally designed by inventor Geoffrey Barnett. The students took Barnett’s design beyond the world of theme parks into a real world solution to transportation-based pollution.
The 6th through 8th grade students took home a third place trophy in Project Presentation. The Nerd Herd also had superb scores in Research and Teamwork categories.
The four students are affectionately called The Nerd Herd. Their assistant coach, Erica Barbieri, described how they got their name.
“Partly, a lot of students just think nerd when you talk about robotics, so we kind of ran with that,” she said.
Chin piped in saying that Nerd Herd came from the first year they competed when they were looking for a name that rhymed.
Last year the Nerd Herd won the New York Championship and went on to Atlanta to compete with schools from all over the country. Their coach, and computer teacher, Christine Zaremba, said that even though the Javits Center is huge, “you realize this is triple A and Atlanta is the big leagues.”
Chin was quick to point out that no matter how they perform, “we still have a meeting to talk about what went wrong and what we could do to make it better next year.”
That is one of the things that stood out about this group: their drive to do their best, and not let anything stand in their way.
They were all confident when I asked about their personal plans for the future. Chin wants to be a lawyer, Kelk is hoping to design roller coasters, Mondaya has her heart set on being a medical scientist, and Fieve is sure she’ll thrive in an artistic field like writing.
I have no doubt they will all succeed, not matter what fields they end up in. And as for the next First Lego League Championships in 2011, the Nerd Herd is already planning next year’s strategy, so look out!
PHOTO: The Nerd Herd with Kid Reporter Joseph O'Connor and their First Lego League Robotics Competition project. (Photo Courtesy Joseph O'Connor)