During the 2023-2024 FIRST® in SHOWSM presented by Qualcomm season, we followed four FIRST® LEGO® League, four FIRST® Tech Challenge, and four FIRST® Robotics Competition Diary of an Innovator teams to learn about their season experiences and the culture of innovation their team has created.    

This post is by Team Dragon Racers from Huntington, New York, USA.

Q: What has been your biggest surprise from the MASTERPIECESM season? What will you take away from the experience?

A: That we created a working prototype!  This was a first for us and different from other years where we just built a model or created a drawing of our Innovation Project.  There were a lot of failures that we learned from in making our prototype, but we kept improving until we had a working prototype of Swap Step shoe with different shoe bases for football, soccer, tap, sneaker, and jazz.

Q: Did the experience make you think differently about robotics, STEM, engineering, and/or the arts?  

A: This season we learned lots about 3-D printing and how useful a tool it is to create models of ideas.  It was fun to work with different types of plastics that provided different strengths or flexibility but could be printed pretty fast.  Working with shoe design made us realize that engineering is in everything!  There are lots of different material decisions, designs for molds and so much more in designing shoes.

Q: Has the experience changed the way you think about college or careers?  

A: The experience has opened up our eyes to all sorts of technology and engineering and made us realize that it is incorporated in everything! 

Q: How has it impacted your thinking about teamwork? 

A: You can accomplish so much more than if we did it ourselves.  We worked together and shared ideas on how to solve missions.  When one group solved a mission with a gear spinning, another group on the team used the idea to help solve a different mission. 

Q: What is the best part of participating in FIRST LEGO League? What part of the experience is the most fun or most rewarding? 

We love going to competitions!  The competitions are so rewarding because you get to meet new people.  Plus, you get to hear about everyone’s Innovation Project.  We love the Innovation Project and the ideas are so different.

Q: How is your team planning to celebrate their accomplishments this season?

A: We have one more tournament, the American Robotics Invitational in May.  The tournament is at the American Dream Mall and we plan on doing a few activities together to celebrate our season like taking a surfing lesson, going to the Nickelodeon Amusement Park, and maybe some indoor skiing.   We are looking forward to meeting more friends at the competition too.  Then when we are all done, we will celebrate the season with a beach bash.  We had one last year and we love getting to relax and hang out together swimming, kayaking, and tubing.

Q: Are you planning to do FIRST LEGO League or another FIRST program next season?

A: Yes, we can’t wait.  Next year will be the last year that we are eligible for FIRST LEGO League and we all love being together and creating cool things.

Congratulations to the Dragon Racers on a successful, innovative, and fun season!

Catch up on previous FIRST LEGO League Diary of an Innovator teams’ posts here. Learn about the FIRST Tech Challenge Diary of an Innovator teamshere, and the FIRST Robotics Competition Diary of an Innovator teams here

Learn more about the upcoming FIRST LEGO League SUBMERGEDSM Challenge (part of the 2024-2025 FIRST® DIVESM presented by Qualcomm season) here: https://info.firstinspires.org/first-dive