Lego Robotics….well, what it sounds like! Kids design, build and program robots made out of legos.
By mid-November, around the country, teams ranging in age from fourth to eighth grade are gathering to compete in the regional First Lego Robotics tournaments. First Lego Robotics is a competition in which kids design, build, and program a robot made out of Legos. Every year they are presented with a series of tasks for their robot to complete that are all centered around a theme. This year’s is “Senior Solutions”, a theme that looks at the challenges facing senior citizens. Teams designed and programmed robots that would fix and push in chairs, let out dogs, garden, organize medicine and make quilts among other things. For each completed task the team wins a certain number of points. Their goal is to complete as many tasks as possible in two and a half minutes.
Beyond the Lego component of the competition, teams are asked to complete a research project that addresses that year’s theme and come up with an innovative solution to the problem they chose to research. Teams this year have looked at and provided solutions to problems such as providing lawn and homes services to seniors and decreasing the risks associated with driving with poor night vision.
First Lego Robotics offers kids the experience of being engineers and researchers. It gets them interested in and excited about finding solutions to real world problems. At competitions, kids said the best part about Lego Robotics is getting to experiment, solve problems and see the success of their own hard work. When they grow up, they want to become engineers, astronauts, scientists and, of course, Lego designers.
More than getting excited about engineering and science, these kids learn valuable lessons for First Lego Robotics that go far beyond the competition. They learn gracious professionalism and how to interact respectfully with other teams regardless of how well or poorly you have preformed. They also learn that the backbone to success is teamwork and perseverance.
First Lego Robotics is helping to produce the next generation of engineers, but it’s not making them wait to change the world. With First, kids are making an impact as at this very moment.