WACO Learning Center teams heads to tournament

Waka Waka WACOs design water conservation app for FLL

By Melanie Yingst - myingst@aimmediamidwest.com

TROY — WACO Air Museum’s Learning Center has been flooded with ideas throughout its First LEGO League season.

This year’s theme, Hydro Dynamics, challenged teams around the nation to explore the world of water and how to research innovative ideas on how to conserve the vital natural resource.

The Learning Center had three teams participate in the regional LEGO League events. The Wakka Wakka WACOs will compete on Saturday at the University of Dayton. The team will compete in three areas: Core Values, Research Project and the LEGO Robotics game.

The eight-member team toured the Troy Water Plant in October. The team also reached out to the city of Troy’s engineering department as part of their research to design a Smartphone app called “Water Drops.”

“The app tracks how much water you use a day and then you compete against your friends to see who can use the least amount of water of all time,” said PJ Glover.

It is Glover’s third year on the FLL team.

“My favorite part of LEGO League is you get to learn a lot of things from others,” he said.

Kyle Packard, 10, a fifth grader from Kyle Elementary, said his favorite part of the program is, “getting to work with new team members.”

“I also like programming because I learned a lot about it and how to do it better this year,” he said.

Troy Junior High School seventh grader Fiona Atkinson, 13, said she enjoyed the robotics this season.

“I liked doing more in-depth programming this year and how getting to know more about how the robot works,” she said. “I liked the project too. I was able to relate to this year’s theme than before.”

Atkinson said she liked working on the team’s Water Drops application because it could be used in every day life.

“I like how it could help a regular citizen every day instead of a company,” she said.

Miami East Elementary School fifth grader Lorelei Greggory said she enjoyed the team building exercises called “Core Values.” Core Values challenges the team members to work together to solve simple tasks or objectives.

“I liked Core Values because they were fun and challenging,” she said.

Miami East Junior High School eighth grader Matthew Hoenstein, 14, said he also liked the team building challenges.

“I liked how we each had to come up with our own challenge and share it with the team. It was my first year and I made some new friends,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Other team members include Miami East Junior High School eighth grader Evan Massie, Covington Middle School sixth grader Allie Gostomsky and Van Cleve Sixth Grade student Kaiser Werling. The team is coached by Keith Packard, Carrie Glover and Troy High School senior Nick Rizkallah served as a mentor.

Last September, WACO Air Museum’s Learning Center broke ground for a new $1.5 million learning facility.

The facility was awarded a $1 million gift from the Thom and Pat Robinson Fund last spring. The learning center will be raising funds for approximately $500,000 for the rest of the building project. The building is expected to be complete by next fall.

More than 1,800 students visited the learning center and 8,000 instructional hours were logged in 2016.

The new building will house multiple classrooms and lab space for the organization’s education programs, including WACO’s award winning FTC robotics team, First LEGO League teams, aviation cadets, NASA teaching training and ground school programs.

The building will be constructed by Bruns. The Operating Engineers Training Program donated the site work for the learning center as well as other projects on the WACO campus.

The learning center will be located behind the hangar and museum buildings.

For more information, visit www.wacoairmuseum.org.

Waka Waka WACOs design water conservation app for FLL

By Melanie Yingst