22 Brooklyn Middle Schools Capture Spots in Citywide Robotics Challenge

400 Middle School Students Pack NYU-Poly Gym for Brooklyn FIRST LEGO League Robotics Qualifiers; Metro New York High School Teams Discover their Secret Challenge

Student from PS11

This weekend, more than 400 Brooklyn middle schoolers packed the halls and gymnasium of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) for the 11th annual Brooklyn qualifying round of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) robotics challenge. Twenty-two teams bested the competition to advance to the Citywide FLL Robotics final in March. 

Meanwhile, in NYU-Poly’s Pfizer Auditorium, 38 high school teams from throughout the New York metro area linked to a NASA video downlink to discover that their challenge will be to create and program their large robots to hang geometric shapes on a grid during the citywide FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Fitted with kits and instructions on Saturday, the high school students will spend the next eight weeks preparing for the intense competition.


Amid thunderous applause and spirited shouts from their teachers, parents and team mascots, 37 teams faced off in this year’s FLL Brooklyn Qualifier, which challenged middle school students to design and program small LEGO robots to complete bio-medical tasks such as stenting blocked arteries or mending broken bones. Mentored by their teachers—as well as NYU-Poly graduate fellows who conducted in-classroom lessons to complement the robotics challenge at 16 of the schools—the teams spent several months creating the robots they debuted at Saturday’s competition. Teams also presented research papers on bio-medical topics.

Among the five boroughs, Brooklyn schools boast the highest rate of participation in FLL. Demand for slots in this qualifying round was so fierce that due to space constraints, several Brooklyn schools will compete in the Manhattan and Staten Island FLL qualifiers later this month. 

The winners of the FIRST Lego League Brooklyn qualifier, by category and place, are:

Champions Award (top honor)

  1. P.S. 11, Team: Mission 11
  2. Genesis Xaverian, Team: Genesis
  3. I.S. 318, Team: Blood, Sweat and Gearz


  1. Urban Assembly Institute of Math & Science for Young Women, Team: Super Novas
  2. I.S. 383, Team: Sky Bots
  3. P.S. 58, Team: Bionic Boys
  4. P.S. 372, Team: Body Builders
  5. P.S. 9, Team: Electrical Mines

Robot Design

  1. M.S.113, Team: Falcon Robotic Allstars
  2. Home Schoolers of Brooklyn
  3. Bedford Academy, Team: Bedford Bots
  4. Mott Hall Bridges Academy
  5. P.S. 3, Team: Robot Tigers


  1. P.S. 5, Team: LEGO Rockets
  2. P.S. 147, Team: Bot Bots Bots
  3. P.S. 233, Team: LEGO Minds

Judges’ Award

P.S. 8, Team: 8 Bots

Performance Awards

  1. P.S. 94, Team: Amazon Warriors
  2. P.S. 94, Team: Master Blasters
  3. P.S. 372, Monster Machines
  4. P.S. 636, Team: Boogie Bots
  5. P.S. 21, Team: The Panthers

“The FIRST robotics events ignite youngsters’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at a critical time in their educational lives, and the results can be profound, influencing their future performance and even their career paths,” said Jerry Hultin, president of NYU-Poly. “NYU-Poly has long been committed to excellence in STEM subjects at the highest levels, and it is very rewarding for our faculty and graduate fellows to support a new generation of scientists and engineers through FIRST.”  

Of the 16 FLL teams mentored by NYU-Poly graduate fellows, 13 advanced to the citywide finals.

This year’s FIRST events at NYU-Poly were sponsored by Time Warner Cable’s East Region/NYC, Consolidated Edison, Swiss Re and The David L. Klein, Jr. Foundation; NYU-Poly is the affiliate partner. FIRST is an organization dedicated to inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills. 

In all, NYU-Poly supports robotics/mechatronics initiatives in 18 low-income schools as part of the Central Brooklyn STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Initiative (CBSI). This program sends NYU-Poly graduate students to 18 elementary, middle and high schools to challenge young people to design, build and operate robotic devices, and to teach the science of mechatronics. Students engage in exciting hands-on learning activities.   The initiative is a public-private partnership supported by The Black Male Donor Collaborative, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Motorola Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, XEROX Foundation, NY Space Grant Consortium and Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and the supporting graduate fellows program receives major funding from National Science Foundation’s GK-12 Fellows Program.

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About Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 157-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second-oldest private engineering school. In addition to its main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it also offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. Globally, NYU-Poly has programs in Israel, China and is an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi.