K12 Outreach: FIRST LEGO League in Saskatchewan

FIRST® LEGO® League in Saskatchewan

Sport for the Mind

It's a competitive sport. It's a life experience. It's opportunity. It's community. It's amazing.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) introduces Saskatchewan kids, ages 9-14, to real-world computer-programming and engineering challenges by building LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to complete tasks on a thematic table-top playing field. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches and mentors, discover exciting career possibilities and learn to make positive contributions to society. They become tomorrow's innovators by practicing imaginative thinking and teamwork.

Worldwide each year over 200,000 kids participate in the FIRST LEGO League. Saskatchewan became an official part of the FIRST LEGO League in 2015, with the leadership of the Department of Computer Science and the Faculty of Science at the University of Regina.

FLL provides the kinds of experiences that are recommended by research on positive youth development, including:

  • Clear expectations
  • Opportunities for skill-building
  • Youth decision-making and responsibility
  • Mentorship
  • Scheduled use of after-school time
  • Integration of family, school, and community

Through the FLL, these kids:

  • Design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS?technology
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Research challenges facing today's scientists
  • Gain hands-on experience solving real-world problems
  • Learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills
  • Work as a group to overcome obstacles and meet challenges
  • Participate in tournaments and celebrations
  • Understand and practice Gracious Professionalism®
  • Engage with their community
  • Have FUN!

5 Steps to Participating in an FLL Experience

  1. Learn about the FIRST LEGO League and what it does

    Learn about FIRST's Mission and Vision and explore their website, firstinspires.org

    Watch online videos about the FIRST LEGO League at https://www.youtube.com/user/FLLGlobal

    Each year, in late August, FIRST releases a new Challenge for FLL teams around the world. The Challenge is based on a set of real-world problems facing scientists and engineers today. Coaches and team members should read the Challenge together. The Challenge description is not a lesson plan; it is meant to be shared so that all Team Members and Coaches can learn together. The Challenge has three parts:

    • Robot Game: teams design, build, program, and test an autonomous LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot to perform a series of missions on the playing field. The Robot Game playing field reflects the real-world theme for the season's Challenge.
    • Project: teams learn more about the science behind the Challenge theme and design an innovative solution to a real-world problem. In their solution, teams may either either create something that doesn't exist or build upon something that does. Finally, teams share their findings with others.
    • Core Values: the Core Values are part of what makes FIRST® LEGO® League so special (and different from other programs) because kids compete like crazy but still respect their teammates, coaches, and other teams ?and they have FUN! By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping each other is the foundation of teamwork. All FLL participants, including Coaches, Mentors, Volunteers, Team Parents, and Team Members, are expected to uphold and display Core Values in all they do. The Core Values are:
      1. We are a team
      2. We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors
      3. We know our coaches and mentors don't have all the answers; we learn together
      4. We honour the spirit of friendly competition
      5. What we discover is more important than what we win
      6. We share our experiences with others
      7. We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do
      8. We have FUN!
  2. Register a Team (OR Volunteer to Support a Team)

    A team has between 2 and 10 members between the ages of 9 and 14 and 2 adult coaches. Teams can come from schools, home schools, churches, civic organizations, community groups, and neighbourhoods.

    A team needs a meeting space (big enough for the robot game playing field) and a computer (Mac or Windows) with internet access. Software you may be interested in running on that computer:

    The fee for a team to register with FIRST is $225 US. Some funding support may be available. Registration is not complete until the registration fee for the team has been paid to FIRST.

    You may start the team registration process at https://my.firstinspires.org/fll/tims/site.lasso. If you have any questions, please send an email to fllteams@firstinspires.org.

    You may start the volunteer registration process at https://my.firstinspires.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_Login.aspx. If you have any questions, please send an email to volunteer@firstinspires.org.

  3. Get your Materials

    Your team will need:

    • Field Setup Kit (may be purchased for each team, or possibly shared between teams)
    • LEGO?MINDSTORMS?robot set (may be purchased, or borrowed from the University of Regina Department of Computer Science's Robot Library)

  4. Work on the Challenge

    This means both researching the Project and designing, building, programming, and testing the robot for the Robot Game. You are always using the Core Values to help you succeed.

  5. Participate in a Tournament (OR Volunteer to Support the Tournament's Organizers)

    Along their discovery journey, Teams develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic computing and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) applications, and presentation skills, as they develop and present their solutions with a dash of creativity. A tournament represents the culmination of weeks of teamwork and mentoring, where Teams:

    • compete with their peers in a high energy, sports-like environment
    • present their solutions to a panel of judges
    • can receive awards for research, presentation, robot design, robot performance, and teamwork

From FIRST, find out more about starting a team and volunteering.

If you have questions about the FLL in Saskatchewan, please contact Daryl Hepting.

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