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Long Island Children Set to Participate in the FIRST LEGO League and Junior FLL Tournament
Elementary and middle-school students apply creativity and science to the study of food safety in the 2011 FIRST LEGO League season
FLL students will take part in the FOOD FACTOR® Challenge. 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.
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, 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.
“Like every season’s Challenge, the details of the Robot Game are related to the theme,” said Jacob Kragh, President, LEGO Education. “In FOOD FACTOR, robots are tasked with the safe transportation and preparation of food, exploring pest control, food temperatures, and pollution as they navigate from the various starting points of our food to the place where it is consumed.”
Meanwhile, Jr. FLL participants will take part in the Snack Attack Challenge. In the Snack Attack Challenge, students will take a “hands on” approach to the topic of food safety by exploring how proper preparation and storage can help keep us healthy. Teams will learn about simple machines as they build a model made of LEGO elements with a motorized moving part, and will create a team Show-Me Poster to represent their Snack Attack findings.
Focused on building an interest in science and engineering in children ages 6-9, Junior FIRST LEGO League is a hands-on program designed to capture young children’s inherent curiosity and direct it toward discovering the possibilities of improving the world around them. Just like FLL, this program features a real-world challenge, to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by adult coaches and the Jr. FLL Core Values, students work with LEGO elements and moving parts to build ideas and concepts and present them for review. Each yearly Challenge has two parts: the LEGO Model and the Show-Me Poster. Working in teams of two to six children and guided by at least one adult coach, teams work to complete the Challenge.
Currently in its 13th year, FIRST LEGO League anticipates its biggest season ever, with more than 200,000 children in 61 countries competing in hundreds of Qualifying Tournaments and Championship Tournaments in order to win honors and recognition. Teams will also have the opportunity to participate at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship on April 26-28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. In addition, approximately 2,600 teams are expected to participate in Junior FIRST LEGO League this season.
“The FIRST LEGO League and the Junior FIRST LEGO League gives these young children a chance to develop an interest in science and engineering at an early age,” said Janet Anderson, FLL and Jr. FLL Director, SBPLI. “Judging by the FLL qualifying tournaments that we had on January 28-29 in which 70 teams participated, the children on Long Island have found a passion for science, technology and engineering.”
For a list of the area schools and youth organizations with teams participating in the “FOOD FACTOR” Challenge, see the attached page. In the event of inclement weather, the FLL Championships and the Jr. FLL Expo will be rescheduled for Sunday, March 11. For more information, visit www.sbpli-lifirst.org.
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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 eight high school teams participated. Since then, the FIRST robotics program has grown to 50 teams, with over 2,300 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.