FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Age and generations might divide some people, but FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) actually brings them together! Can FLL teams improve the quality of life for senior citizens by designing innovative strategies to keep them independent, engaged, and connected in their communities? This is the annual FLL Challenge for 2012 called SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM. Over 200,000 children, ages 9 to 14, from more than 60 countries, explored the topic of aging and how it may affect a person’s ability to maintain his or her lifestyle. Their solutions could focus on solving issues like getting around, keeping in touch, or staying fit.
FLL continues to grow in Indiana with 250 teams participating in the SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM 2012 Challenge. After competing in one of ten Indiana FLL Qualifying Tournaments, 52 teams (approximately 500 students) have advanced to the Indiana Championship, Saturday, December 8. The Field House at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne’s (IPFW’s) Athletics Center will come alive with the energy of these teams during the 13th annual IPFW-ITT Exelis Indiana FLL Championship Tournament. The Robot games are run like a sporting event, with referee’s scoring the matches. Teams create a team identity with catchy names and shirts, cheering their team on to get the best robot score. The Indiana champions will earn the opportunity to compete at the World Festival in St. Louis, Mo., against teams from throughout the world. The event is free and open to the public.
Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL Core Values. The challenge requires teams to research and present their own creative solutions to complete the project phase and master the complex missions of the robot game phase, while gaining valuable STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. The competition emphasizes the Core Values of FLL, where participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain can coexist. In the competition they practice helping one another as the foundation of teamwork.
This year, the FLL teams partnered with a senior citizen to identify and learn about a problem faced by that age group. Teams researched obstacles and suggested improvements that impact a senior citizen’s quality of life. As a way to learn that any improvement must be communicated to others before it is implemented, the teams are also required to share their solutions with an outside group prior to the tournament. The most exciting part for the teams is when they build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® to solve a set of missions on an obstacle course that includes LEGO structures.
FLL introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society.
FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®), created through a partnership between FIRST (For Inspiration and
Recognition of Science and Technology) and The LEGO Group, inspires future scientists and engineers.
FIRST® LEGO® League is an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children to get them excited about science and technology and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Children work alongside adult mentors for eight weeks on the project. The competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Throughout the competition, teams demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship, and sense of community.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. Based in Manchester, N.H., the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting, mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
To learn more about FIRST, go to the FIRST website.
For more information about the December event, contact Carol Dostal, director of outreach programs in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science, at 260-481-6905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.