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Kelly Elementary’s CoMo FUNerators Compete at Regionals
Posted 12/9/19

How can six 4th graders change their community for the better?  Ask Kelly Elementary’s CoMo FUNerators, a First Lego League (FLL) team of go-getters who took part in the SoCal Regional competition at Legoland on Sunday, December 8.


This year’s FLL theme is City Shapers. Teams look to their communities, identifying problems and finding solutions.  When the CoMo FUNerators looked around, they saw opportunity right in their own schoolyard.  


“Kelly is a KINDNESS school,” reports the team. “Our school has many students with different abilities and disabilities, and we are lucky to have students with moderate to severe special needs in our classes. But our school playground would be much better if it had more equipment for our friends with disabilities. Everybody should be able to play on a playground.  We want to be able to play with all of our friends there.” 


The CoMo FUNerators adopted the Playcore “principles of playground inclusive play—Be fair. Be included. Be smart. Be independent. Be Safe. Be active. Be comfortable.” They surveyed students, parents, and others to find out what students with disabilities need in a playground. 


The team heard about a project in Ghana, where playground equipment such as merry-go-rounds generate power so families can have light in their homes. The team came up with the idea of designing a “power park” that runs on electricity generated through the motion of kids using play equipment. The harvested electricity could be used in equipment for students with disabilities.  For example, it could power a disabled student’s swing. Kids with all abilities will be able to play together on their playground. 


The students also met with the experts. They have been working with and learning from Carlsbad Parks and Recreation Senior Manager Barbara Kennedy and her staff, as well as Project Professionals and Pacific Play Structures in Carlsbad.  Further—because Kelly Elementary is scheduled or renovation with funding from the recently-passed Measure HH, with its current playground equipment slated to be replaced—the students also met with Erickson Hall Construction Company, which will be remodeling the school starting in 2020.


Then the students honed their plan. “We each partnered with a student with a disability. Together we designed a play structure that kids of all abilities could play on. We also added an energy harvesting feature so we can store energy to be used later.  We decided on five playground structures to focus on, including the CoMo Swing, the Fidget Spinner, and the FUNerator RollerPull.”


“First Lego League is about learners, collaborators, thinkers, and global citizens,” said teacher and coach Nicole Buchanan. “I’m impressed with the accomplishments of this team, and wish them well in their competition.”

The team was also recently featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune.


LEGO Robotics is offered in Carlsbad Unified through the support of the Carlsbad Educational Foundation.