On Nov. 9, St. Paul on the Lake Catholic School’s Laker LEGO Builders, a team of second graders, participated in the Junior FIRST LEGO League SharkFest Expo at Troy High School. Team members Shawn Coyle, Quinn Johnson, Jake Juip, Elijah Meyers and Joey Stapleton were challenged to research natural disasters — hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, blizzards and others — and build a LEGO model to represent an aspect of their research. The team chose tornadoes and researched causes and safety precautions. In their research, the team interviewed storm chasers and built LEGO models simulating a Crazy Floors carnival ride with a working crane, using gears and a motor to drive the moving parts. Additionally, in applying their knowledge of tornadoes, gears and motors, the team created a LEGO model of a town in the midst of a tornado. The town had three buildings, roads, cars and streetlights, all intact, as well as a fourth house partially destroyed from a tornado. Powered by gears and a motor, the team’s tornado spun, which impressed the judges. “The judges were very impressed with the way the boys incorporated the moving tornado into their model,” said parent Maureen Juip. “They were even more impressed with the confidence that the boys displayed during their interview.” To communicate everything they learned, the team also created a display board.