Asking Important Questions

At WES, our goal is to ensure our students do more than just acquire knowledge: They should build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and learn how to ask important questions. Our Middle School Robotics team is doing just that right now, as they enter the Maryland State Qualifier for the First Lego League competition this weekend.

A few changes were made to the competition this year, which previously has been held in person. Our DragonBots had to send videos and documents in advance for the judges to review, and they will interview with a panel this weekend. Every year the teams are asked to create an innovative solution to a real-world problem. This year’s challenge was “Cargo Connect;” students were asked to think about how goods are transported around the world. 

Our Dragons were ambitious in their topic choice and decided to tackle congestion at the Port of Los Angeles. For their solution, they created a hyperloop to take containers to distribution centers, alleviating traffic congestion as well as carbon emissions. They submitted three videos today: one about their innovation project, another with their robot completing as many missions as it can in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and lastly one discussing how they worked together as a team. They also had to document their robot design, explaining why they made the choices they did and what programs they created to operate their robot. 

They will be evaluated by how well thought-out their solution is. Is it thorough? Whether it costs $10 or $10 billion, does it improve our world and how it operates?

While the judges will be focused on the process behind their approach, I am truly proud of our Dragons for addressing such a crucial challenge. They have proven that they are not intimidated by complex questions; they have the confidence to engage with difficult topics. As they continue on their journey as learners and doers in life, they are well-prepared to make contributions in their communities, addressing some of the most pressing problems of their day.

We will learn how they did next week. Fingers crossed! Most importantly, kudos to the Robotics team for the tremendous tenacity, ingenuity, and creativity they displayed while working on this year’s competition. 


Danny Vogelman

Head of School