FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics Connect Young Minds to Greatness
What's the best way to show young people what they can do with math, science, and technology skills? Put them to the test in a fun and competitive environment.
From Greater Kansas City to rural Kansas and Missouri, two programs from the FIRST foundation (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) are building interest and momentum in our region and worldwide.
Build It, and They Will Learn
A special partnership between FIRST and the LEGO® Company, The FIRST LEGO League is a thrilling and compelling global robotics program intended to fuel enthusiasm for science and technology.
The league encourages students nine to fourteen years old from across the country and around the globe to test, explore, and expand their minds outside of the classroom. Guided by a team coach and assisted by mentors, each team completes research then designs and builds its own robot and takes on other teams in a friendly, yet competitive, environment.
With the help of LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robotics Invention System™ technology, young minds gain hands-on technology and engineering experience by building and programming their own one-of-a-kind robotic invention.
"The FIRST LEGO League allows kids the opportunity to not only build things, but see how they work," says Bev White, regional director of FIRST in Kansas and Western Missouri.
The FIRST Robotics program ups the ante for high school students, putting the importance of math, science, and technology on full display. The program teams professionals and young people to build a robot from a standard kit of parts, then pits them against other teams in a competition to complete a certain task. Each robot is built in a six-week period and can weigh as much as 120 pounds, boosting creativity and camaraderie to an all-time high, while greasing the wheels of innovation.
Viewed by participants and spectators alike as a "varsity sport of the mind," FIRST Robotics is intended to transform the way high school students perceive math, science, and technology in the classroom, as well as to highlight their importance out of the classroom. In fact, the competition shows students the advantages of incorporating math, science, and technology to attain many career and job-related opportunities, with scholarships available for individual team members.
"Programs like these go a long way in determining which career path our young students will take," White adds.
This year's FIRST LEGO League championship is February 24, 2008 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The FIRST Robotics regional event will be held March 6-8, 2008 at Hale Arena.
For student applications, coaching, and mentoring opportunities, or more information on each event, visit www.usfirst.org, call 800-871-8326 or contact Bev White, regional director, firstname.lastname@example.org.