By Jessica Hung, FCSN Voices Youth Reporter
Hoping to create a wave of impact on the community, Alan Jiang reached out to Friends of Children with Special Needs to create the FCSN Lego Class. Alan Jiang, team captain of the First Tech Challenge Team Alphabots 16026, has a passion for robotics and building lego models. He and his team were already teaching lego classes to neurotypical students, but Alan reached out to FCSN through his connections to create an opportunity for special needs children to learn how to build lego models and code.
In the FCSN Lego Class, students learn basic building and programming skills by building models with provided lego kits. Typically, the classes are an hour long on Saturdays from two to three in the afternoon. Most models are not too complicated and are finished in one class. However, if the coding is not finished, the team will keep the models and teach the students how to code the models in the next class. After the models are completed, students can play with the models. Some of the interesting models that the students have built include a street sweeper, a plane, and a claw to grab things. One goal that this class strives to accomplish is to create a summer camp where kids can learn how to build more complicated models and learn more complex code.
A computer generated image of the sweeper model.
Nevertheless, starting a class does not come without its challenges. Alan and his team initially struggled with having to adapt to the students’ needs. Regular steps might be too challenging for the students, so the team had to learn how to modify the steps by using a lego building construction generator.
A picture of a real life model and the code.
This class has also brought many smiles to the students’ faces. Alan expressed how students feel happy and accomplished when they finish a model. He commented on a rewarding experience and said, “I remember one kid when we finished building a car, he went outside and ran around driving the car.” Not only does this class bring the students joy, but it also brings positivity to Alan and his team as they can teach their passions while spreading happiness to others.
A picture of Alan teaching the class.
Alan’s robotics team is with the organization FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, which also sponsors different levels of competitions. Although the competition may not be suited for FCSN students, his team is thinking of expanding the lego class in the future and covering topics in the FIRST Lego League competition, which would involve building more complicated lego models and having more fun and engaging activities.
To those who are interested and want to join, Alan and his team are opening another class in Fremont as well as the one they have already at FCSN South Bay, so be sure to sign up!