“Changing the world … one brick at a time” is the mantra of First Lego League.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, First Lego League (FLL), Newfoundland and Labrador, will hold its seventh province-wide tournament for junior high school students. The FLL competition theme changes annually, and relates to global issues. The theme for the 2009-2010 school year is “Smart Move”, which focuses on the efficient transportation of people and goods around the world and in communities to conserve energy.
This year, the tournament venue is unique as it is being held on the second floor of the engineering building, which is the S.J. Carew Building, North Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. This change in venue reflects a new partnership with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, which perceives FLL as a valuable outreach program for encouraging students to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Prof. Andy Fisher is the associate dean of undergraduate studies for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and is excited about hosting this year’s FLL tournament.
“This is the type of active learning environment that can change the course of the future for many of these students. The competition themes get the students thinking about sustainability, the format gets them involved with technology and the team work allows them build those highly critical interpersonal life skills. It’s a great opportunity to learn and have fun,” said Prof. Fisher.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. with closing /award ceremonies at about 4 p.m. Members of the general public and the media are invited to attend to show support to the students. Come and see:
• Student enthusiasm for science and technology;
• Robots completing missions autonomously (by themselves – not remotely controlled) on a multi-coloured playing field;
• Students programming their robots;
• Robots being built and refined;
• Judging of the engineering design and programming;
• Student freestyle presentations on this year’s theme, ”Smart Moves”.
Visitors will see robots competing throughout the day; however, there are other dimensions to this competition, including judging of engineering design and programming of the individual robots by engineers and scientists, and a freestyle presentation by the student team on the theme.
The FLL competition challenges students in many ways and fosters a wide array of skills development. It also encourages their academic choices and achievement in fields which enable them greater career options. Most importantly, this competition demands that students use and develop creativity and problem-solving skills, which are needed to address the world’s major issues and future challenges.
There are 50 countries involved in the FLL program. This includes 14,600 teams and 146,000 students (team members). Further information on this event and its link to the global community may be viewed on the FLL website: www.firstlegoleague.org