By Maureen Hanson

Six students in the second and third grades at La Porte City Elementary School were part of the first-ever FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. (FLL Jr.) team at the school this year.

The “Knight Owls,” FLL Jr. Team 15951, was comprised of Talented and Gifted program students Claudia Craft, Ethan Gardner, Jayden Paine, Owen Schmitz, Darrius Wallace and Ivory Weisert. Together they studied the moon and built a LEGO model and self-propelled robot based on this season’s FLL Jr. theme, “Mission MoonSM.”

The team members displayed their model and oral presentation at an FLL Jr. Expo event in Cedar Falls on December 15, where they received the Synergy Award. They also will be participating in a FIRST demonstration day to celebrate Engineers’ Week on February 20, hosted by the generous sponsor who made their participation possible, John Deere.

The formation of an FLL Jr. program makes the Union Community School District one of just 1.7% of school districts nationwide who participate in FIRST and have all four levels of the program – FLL Jr., FIRST LEGO League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

The Knight Owls were coached by four members of Union’s FRC Team, Fiercely Uknighted Nation/Team 6630 – Dolores Cicio, Kody Crawford, Noah Damro and Carter Spore – along with adult coaches Maureen Hanson and Heidi Spore.