MANCHESTER, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, announced that the 2014/2015 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) season would task students to explore the future of learning as part of a new Challenge called FLL WORLD CLASSSM. More than 260,000 children in nearly 80 countries will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn in the 21st century, and will develop their own innovative tools to help others gather knowledge as part of the FLL season Challenge.
The FLL WORLD CLASS Challenge calls for teams of 9 to 14 year-old children (9 to 16 outside North America) worldwide to research and present their original tools and/or tactics that enrich the current landscape of learning. Teams will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a series of wisdom-gathering missions which include: pushing a lever to open a door to learning, moving an idea outside of the box, loading a model with knowledge and skill loops, and more. The cornerstones of the experience are the FLL Core Values, which emphasize contributions of others, friendly competition, learning, and community involvement.
“Students who participate in FIRST LEGO League already have a love of learning. The FLL WORLD CLASS Challenge tasks them to utilize this innate thirst for knowledge in an exercise of meta-learning, or discovering how people acquire knowledge,” said Donald E. Bossi, FIRST President. “Today’s youth have been born into a Digital Age where methods for gathering information are quite literally at their fingertips. This season’s FIRST LEGO League Challenge allows teams to educate us about how they want to learn in and outside of today’s evolving classroom.”
FIRST LEGO League is one of four programs within the Progression of Programs at FIRST®. The organization offers a progression of four international, after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs for students in K-12.
Also, 27,000 6 to 9 year-olds on 4,500 teams are expected to participate in the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) THINK TANKSM Challenge this season. Since 2004, Jr.FLL has captured young children’s curiosity and directed it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. Jr.FLL features a real-world Challenge, solved by research, critical thinking, and imagination. Guided by adult Coaches and the Jr.FLL Core Values, students work with LEGO elements and motorized parts to build ideas and concepts and present them for review.
Each year in early fall, FIRST LEGO League releases a themed, three-part Challenge based on a real-world scientific topic to develop project-based skills through a Robot Game, a Project, and a signature set of Core Values which comprise the overarching way in which the Challenge is completed. Teams of up to 10 children, with two adult Coaches, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and developing innovative ideas that improve current conditions and add value to society (Project). Past Challenges have been based on topics such as natural disasters, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, quality of life for handicapped and senior populations, and transportation.
“This Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for teams to take ownership of a project, take ownership of the competition, and really give their own input,” said Søren Thomsen, Head of Educational Development, LEGO® Education. “I see it with so many teams – the glow in their eyes is really just magical.”
For the FLL WORLD CLASS Challenge, FIRST collaborated with experts in the fields of education and digital learning including representatives of LEGO Education, State of Vermont Department of Education, WhippleHill, Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, New Mexico Public Education Department, and university professors, among other specialists to create a theme and challenge missions that reflect modern learning environments.
FIRST LEGO League is an international program 9 to 14 year-old children (9 to 16 outside North America) created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable career and life skills. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS technologies and LEGO Education materials, children design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips. Adult Coaches guide and support the teams throughout the season, but the children do the work.
Currently in its seventeenth year, FIRST LEGO League anticipates its largest season ever, with approximately 26,000 teams competing in hundreds of Qualifying Tournaments and Championship Tournaments. Teams will also have the opportunity to participate at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship, April 22-25, 2015 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $20 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.
ABOUT THE LEGO GROUP
The LEGO Group is a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark. The company is still owned by the Kirk Kristiansen family who founded it in 1932.
The LEGO Group is engaged in the development of children's creativity through playing and learning. Based on the world-famous LEGO® brick, the company today provides toys, experiences and teaching materials for children in more than 130 countries.
For more information, visit www.LEGO.com.
FIRST® and the FIRST® logo are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® are registered trademarks of the LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League, FLL®, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League, Jr.FLL®, FLL WORLD CLASSSM, and THINK TANKSM are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and the LEGO Group. ©2014 FIRST and the LEGO Group. All rights reserved.