Jesseca Timmons: The Greenfield Beat – Be sure to attend Fire and Ice event

  • Jesseca Timmons

Published: 11/24/2022 9:00:23 AM

We’re hoping for good weather for the all-town Fire and Ice event, organized by the Greenfield Fire Department, on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Be sure to stop by the Meeting House for the Friends of the Meetinghouse’s second Festival of Trees from 2 to 4 p.m. Sharon Andrews is making her famous cookies, and Larry Gilbert will be playing holiday music.

In other news, the next Greenfield Craft Fair at the Meeting House is Thursday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. This is a really wonderful mix of products by local artists and artisans. Stop into the Meeting House next Thursday and check some Christmas shopping off your list!

On Nov. 19, Greenfield’s Stephenson Library FIRST LEGO League Challenge team, comprised of seven boys ages 8 though 11, competed at the New Hampshire FIRST competition state qualifying round at Merrimack High School. Although the team did not advance to the state round, the group, coached by Brighid Wood, was praised for its teamwork and cooperation. While the Stephenson Memorial Library group happens to be all boys, girls are always encouraged to join!

A few days before the competition, two other volunteers and I got to see the team – which is mostly 8-year-olds – practice their presentation for the judges. They did a very nice job talking about their project, even as they wriggled like jumping beans from sheer excitement.

When I was with the team, they were managing a slight crisis due to a crashed iPad, and were overjoyed to discover there was still code stored in their robots. It is great to see that Greenfield has such an enthusiastic crop of young engineers and coders!

The first requirement of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge team competition was to create an Innovation Project designed to solve a problem in the team’s community. The Stephenson team came up with the idea of installing solar panels and windmills in the center of Greenfield to alleviate the frequent power outages in town. When asked where would be a good spot for a windmill, one team member exclaimed, “In Mr. Jarvis’ field!” Another team member – while he generally supports the idea of solar panels and windmills – confided that he actually prefers it when the power is out, because “then we get to have a fire and marshmallows.”

In the second part of the competition in Merrimack, the boys, cheered on by many of their parents, demonstrated the robots they had engineered and coded to complete a specific set of tasks. Every FIRST LEGO League team in the world receives the same LEGO robot kits and competition mat for the competition.

At the competition, the team was happy their robots all worked as expected and were able to complete their tasks. Wood noticed that the kids really enjoyed seeing how other teams had solved the same problems in different ways and came back to their own table bubbling over with new ideas.

Wood and her husband Andre have coached many different robotics teams over the years, ranging in age from kindergarten all the way through the high school team at ConVal, and now through a 4-H club. Wood, who had been running FIRST Explore groups for younger children at the library for several years, started this new middle-grade team in August 2021 to ramp up the youths’ skills – particularly for some of the older kids, who were ready for more of a challenge.

Now that the serious competition is done for the year, the team will focus on another project for a just-for-fun competition in the spring. Wood is always looking for a few more youths to be on the team for next year’s competition, as there are always kids aging out and onto the next level. For more information about the Stephenson Library FIRST LEGO team, please contact Wood at For information about FIRST Lego League, go to or

Please email me with ideas for The Greenfield Beat! My email address is


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