FIRST LEGO League
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program, created by FIRST and LEGO, designed to get children interested in and excited about science, technology and engineering. Every year, FIRST releases a new challenge that engages the teams in hands-on robotics design and scientific research.
Participants, ages 9-14, form teams of 2-10 members. Teams can form from any group – 4-H, school, scouts, religious organizations, home school groups, or even groups of friends. After the challenge has been released, teams have 12 weeks to design, program and build their robot, and prepare an in-depth research presentation related to the challenge theme. The LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics kit is used to build a robot capable of completing tasks autonomously on the playing field. It is a fun way to learn more about science, engineering, math, technology, and teamwork while doing hands-on activities.
Hancock County has five FLL 4-H Clubs this year, F.I.R.E. (Future Intelligent Robotic Engineers) and I.C.E. (Intelligent Creative Engineers), L.A.B. (Lego Adapting Brains), Flip the Switch, and Extreme Chaos. They started meeting for the regular season in August on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings at the Garner Ed Center. Teams worked on building and programming the robot, developing a presentation on the current challenge, and doing team building exercises. They compete in December in Cedar Falls in the Regional Competition.
Regional competition is a one day, high-energy, sports-like tournament. During the tournament, teams have three rounds on the competition tables to get their robot to have its best score possible. When not competing with their robots, the teams give their research presentations, are interviewed about the technical design of their robots, and how they worked as a team. Award winners at regional qualifiers may advance to the Championship event at Iowa State University in January. The winners of the State Champion’s Award, our most prestigious award, may be eligible to compete in a variety of post-season tournament opportunities both domestic and abroad.
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