In the FOOD FACTOR® Challenge, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT to solve a set of food safety missions as well as research, develop, and share their innovative solutions to improve the world’s current food preparation processes.
Television personality, author, and celebrity chef Mary Sue Milliken believes FIRST LEGO League students’ research will help advance education and greater awareness of food contamination issues. “Food safety is a brilliant theme for FIRST LEGO League because we eat every day, and it is that very ‘fuel’ affecting all the cells in our bodies,” she said. “Kids love learning about food — and I’m excited to see the inventions they create to solve problems that my industry faces.
“Food safety education is key to serving safe and delicious meals, and getting students involved early on is a great way to lay the foundation for a future culture of food safety in any setting where food is cooked and eaten,” said Clay Hosh, Instructional Design Manager for the National Restaurant Association’
Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. First LEGO League is an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 based on their common belief that fun and learning go hand-in-hand, and that an inspired mind can accomplish anything. Each September, FIRST LEGO League announces the annual Challenge to teams, engaging them in authentic scientific research and hands-on robotics design. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO play materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program robots to complete missions based on real-world challenges. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments.
“FIRST LEGO League so brilliantly captures the natural curiosity and creativity of youth, and combines it with real-world issues and research and teamwork activities that put children in a position of identifying and creating innovative solutions to big problems,” said Jens Maibom, vice president, LEGO Group. “In this manner, FIRST LEGO League inspires children around the world to realize the power of their creative thinking skills in making a real difference, which naturally makes them feel good and motivates them to continue learning by doing.”
Janet Anderson, Director of SBPLI’s FLL program, said: “We are pleased to coordinate the Long Island FIRST LEGO League Tournament. It is an extension of the FIRST Robotics Competition. Together these programs are opening a world of technology, science, and engineering to so many Long Island students, helping to build our high tech workforce of the future.”
“Farmingdale State is excited to partner with SBPLI and FIRST LEGO League,” said Dr. Lorraine Greenwald, Dean of the School of Business, Farmingdale State College. “In fact, students in Professor Marie Pullan’s class are so engaged with this semester’s robotics assignments they asked for additional lab time. These students are volunteering to be on campus early Saturday morning to help middle school students with this practice tournament.”
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School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) was founded in 1984 by Fred Breithut with the goal of developing partnerships between local high schools and businesses that would provide students with practical experience and curriculum development, while helping the business community develop its future workforce. Over 100 partnerships have been formed. In 1999, SBPLI brought the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to Long Island, where 14 high school teams participated. Since then, the FIRST robotics program has grown to 50 teams, with over 2,000 students participating in FIRST Robotics and LEGO League programs on Long Island each year. The 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition will be held at Hofstra University on March 29-31, 2012.