Our tournament season will being in November 2015. RISF thanks National Grid, Strategic Sponsor for the Rhode Island Students of the Future FIRST LEGO League World Class season.
Dean Kamen, inventor and FIRST Founder, encourages professionals in the knowledge economy to share their passion for science, technology, and engineering with children. If people with world-class minds share their passion and expertise with kids, kids say, “Wow! I want to do that!”
Meeting professionals with careers in engineering, software design and programming, science or technology lights a fire in kids. It cuts through the nonsense of pop culture and gives our kids a vivid, clear picture of how science and technology helps people and improves our quality of life. It constructs a bridge that helps kids travel beyond school and into the real world.
FIRST LEGO League actively engages over 600 Rhode Island students every year in designing, building and programming a robot to compete for points on a game table. Kids who are 9-14 years old love to tinker, and they get excited about building and programming a robot out of LEGO elements that moves all by itself.
The genius, though, was giving FIRST LEGO League an annual theme that’s tied to a research project. The project increases scientific literacy by challenging the kids to understand the problems and to create their own solutions. This year’s annual theme is World Class, and teams will explore how we gather knowledge and skills in the digital age.
Honestly, though, to most kids, a research project sounds an awful lot like school work — that's why they are encouraged to find experts to interview. When the kids meet people who make science come alive, they see how science, technology and engineering improve the lives of people they love. Then, they want to learn more.
After a 6-8 week season of building a robot to compete on the pre-built game table and creating a research project, teams compete in November and December's high-energy qualifying tournaments where their robots and projects are evaluated by teams of science, technology, engineering and math professionals. 40 teams advance to the State Championship, January 17, 2015 at Roger Williams University.
There is a widely acknowledged need to expand the pipeline of students prepared to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and math. This need is both local and global. The Report of the RI Bioscience Industry Skills Gap Task Force (11/9/09) outlines a number of factors inhibiting Rhode Island’s economy, from job applicants who lack exposure to science and technology to those who have underdeveloped soft skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork. The study advocates ensuring more students are prepared for 21st century careers and recommends placing high priority on improving and expanding hands-on science and technology (STEM) programs for grades K-12.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s 2008 publication “Studying STEM, What Are the Barriers?” further reported a decline of students in developed countries entering STEM careers. The report indicates that a negative stereotype of STEM professionals as “geeky” or nerdy” is reinforced by the media, peers and parents and discourages students as young as 14 from pursuing STEM career paths. The study recommends introducing students to role models who alter the current public image in order to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.
The same study reports that students would be more interested in STEM careers if they understood that STEM industries create a healthier or better world: inventing new instruments that treat disease; or creating alternative fuel sources. Highlighting the ability of those in STEM careers to improve the world will encourage student interest.
The FIRST LEGO League has a record of providing a hands-on STEM program for 9-14 year olds that makes STEM relevant and exciting while introducing them to mentors who are passionate about their STEM careers. The goal of this project is to expand and deepen the reach of FLL RI by creating training programs for mentors, coaches and teams.
*9-14 in the US, Canada, and Mexico
What is the future of learning? FIRST® LEGO® League teams will find the answers. In the 2014 FLL WORLD CLASS℠ Challenge, over 230,000 children ages 9 to 16* from over 70 countries will redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. Teams will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn. Get ready for a whole new class – FLL WORLD CLASSSM!
FLL challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During FLL WORLD CLASSSM, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. They will also choose and solve a real-world question in the Project. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values.
During the World Class Season, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. They will also choose and solve a realworld problem in the Project. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values.
The Robot Game and Project are what teams do, and the Core Values guide teams through the experience.
Learn more about FLL by attending an upcoming event:
November 22, 2014: AIR 4H FIRST LEGO League Qualifier at Kickemuit Middle School, Warren, RI
January 17, 2015: FIRST LEGO League State Championship at Roger Williams University, Bristol
January 24, 2015: FIRST LEGO League Robot Invitational and Jr. FLL Expo at Bryant University, Smithfield
Kids who want to explore science, technology, engineering and/or robotics in a hands-on way, or who enjoy crafting, problem solving and working in teams are good candidates for FIRST LEGO League.