Tinsley said programming the robot was harder than she thought it would be, but having fun with her team has been worth it.
Sixth-grader Ben Mullet agreed.
“I’ve met different people through this and made a lot more friends,” he said.
This year has been a pilot program for the Lego team. The other coach, Craig Fryman, is a New Paris parent and engineer and had volunteered to help start a program at New Paris. The goal is to look for coaches to expand to the other elementary schools and the junior high next year, Thalheimer said.
The corporation has applied for a math and science grant that would help fund other teams, and Thalheimer has also begun looking for local corporate sponsors.
Kegerreis said they chose FLL because the program relates well to children because it deals with something they already have an interest in — Legos.
“It gives kids an opportunity to do something they might not normally be able to do,” she said. “The emphasis really is on learning and discovery.”
FLL is also a worldwide program and is scalable; there are two higher levels where students could compete as the program grows, Fryman said.
The New Paris students earned the teamwork award on Saturday.