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Article as printed in the Nov. 2012 Crissman Connection
Crissman Elementary School teams engaged in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Team #1721 Pascal & Amy Roy, Coaches
Our team is based out of Shelby Township and is comprised of 8 kids, ages 9 to 12, from Crissman Elementary and Malow Junior High Schools.
As part of the team's research project, we met with State Representative Pete Lund this past Friday, October 26th. We thought this might provide a good angle for coverage of the FIRST Lego Robotics after school program. This program has the following mission: "Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership."
FIRST Lego League (FLL) is a phenomenal after school program. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" and is a program created by Dean Kamen (the inventor of the Segway personal transporter among other things). It is a very popular program that has spread worldwide. More information on the program can be found at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll. A part of the program involves having the kids research a real life problem and come up with an innovative solution. The second portion of the program involves using the Lego Mindstorm robot kit to build and program a robot to perform certain predetermined missions to score points. The final portion of the program is aimed at developing team work skills necessary throughout life.
This year, the theme is "Senior Solutions". The research project challenge is to identify problems senior citizens face, choose one problem to focus on, then investigate and understand the problem. After this is done, the team must come up with an innovative way to solve the problem. Our team #1721, "The Crazy Pizza People", identified more than 40 problems senior citizens face, but ultimately chose the following problem with the help of a senior partner, Mr. Fred Fox: "A significant percentage of people do not save enough money to have a financially comfortable retirement". The kids on the team started researching the problem and found an amazing amount of information, much of it was astonishing to them. For example, most people do not realize that they need to save approximately 20 times their annual salary, or between 1 and 3 million dollars, for their retirement. They even conducted a survey of 118 adults (friends, family and Crissman community) which did show that the majority of people surveyed do not know how much to save.
As part of the research project, the team is charged with talking to one or more "experts in the field" to gain their insight/input on the issue. In addition, the team can discuss their proposed solution with the expert to help them determine if their solution could be a viable option. Our team will met with State Representative Pete Lund this past Friday, October 26th to discuss the problem and their proposed solution with him. He was very impressed with the research the children completed and with their proposed three part solution. First, the team would like our State Congress to pass legislation to mandate that schools must spend time in class teaching about retirement savings. Specifically, the fact that students should start saving as soon as possible to take advantage of compound interest, and that if you start saving when you first start working, you need to save a smaller percentage of your income (about 10%) to reach your retirement savings goal. Second, our United States Congress
should enact legislation that mandates anytime someone starts a new job, the employer would automatically enroll the new employee into a retirement savings account depositing 10% of their pre-tax income into the account. The employee would have the ability to opt out or change the amount of the automatic deduction if s/he chooses. Third, an incentive in the form of a 1% tax break on an employee's paycheck would occur if the employee does deposit a minimum of 10% in a retirement savings account. In addition, any company that has at least 80% of their employees contributing at least 10% of their paycheck into a retirement savings account throughout the year will also receive a 1% tax break incentive. State Representative Pete Lund thought that the kids' solution was great and could definitely work and as an added benefit could help stimulate the economy with more money being saved. The second and third portions of the solution however, would require the United States Congress to enact a law, but could definitely be done.
Pictured: Pete Lund, Representative
The kids pictured from left to right: Carter O'Donnell, Corey Reynolds, Austin Motlock, Cheyenne Smith, Katie Roy, Giovanni Pansera, Nicholas Tobin, Alex Roy
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