Monday, January 21, 2008

IS 75 on Cover of MSPA Magazine

My principal informed me of great news. The I.S. 75 Lego Robotics Team will be on the cover of the Middle School Principal Association (MSPA) Magazine. After my principal was contacted, I sent information about the Lego Robotics program at I.S. 75, some background on inspiring students, and some of the unique points of the F.I.R.ST. Lego League Tournament many are not aware of at first.

Donny Swanson

NOTE: IS 75 was one of the two winners at last year's tournament and took the team to Atlanta for the World Festival.

Information in letter to MSPA

"The Lego Robotics Program at Intermediate School 75 was developed to reinforce skills in mathematics, science, communication arts, and technology through a hands-on collaborative approach. Children are grouped heterogeneously by academic performance to encourage further achievement on all levels.

In the fall of 2006, Paulo Intermediate School 75 created a Lego Robotics Team. The Lego Robotics Team is an extension of the program where children can further develop their understanding of engineering through the New York City F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League. It is a pathway for students of all physical levels to become immersed in an environment of teamwork and fair play as well as an opportunity to experience healthy competition. Our teams consists of 20 students from ages 11 to 14 years old in the sixth through eighth grade. We are proud to say, the team has accomplished more than we could have even imagined.

What makes this program unique is that is gives all children, including those with disabilities, the chance to actively participate in a team setting. Many other competitive activities are not completely inclusive.

One student on the team, has a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). He has excelled through Lego Robotics and is now one of the team’s head programmers. Although he may be confined to a wheelchair, he has proven to play a major role in the success of the group. His knowledge of the subject has inspired many students to look beyond his disability and celebrate his strength.

Another member of our team suffers from a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which prevents him from physical overexertion. This program allows him to actively participate in competitive events and experience the benefits of being part of a team.

In addition, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Through this program, I can show the children that a setback is an opportunity to think out of the box and create an alternative solution. This motivation shows the students that despite their disability or weakness, anyone can be a productive member of society when using their mind to focus on their strengths.

The theme of the F.I.R.S.T. Lego League Tournament is, “Sports for the Mind.” This organization, founded by Dean Kamen, encourages people to celebrate intelligence, teamwork and character. We will be purchasing baseball jerseys to proudly represent our school and the theme we are grateful to be a part of."

Thank you,
Donny Swanson
Lego Robotics Coordinator
Intermediate School 75

Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape in the new year.

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