FIRST Lego League Jr.

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FIRST Lego League Jr.
Jr FLL logo.png
Sport Robotics-related games
Founder Dean Kamen
Inaugural season 2004
Country International
Related
competitions
FIRST Robotics Competition
FIRST Tech Challenge
FIRST Lego League
Official website www.firstinspires.org/robotics/flljr

FIRST LEGO League Jr. is a non-competitive robotics program designed for children ages six to ten. It is one of the programs established by FIRST.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. follows the same theme given to FIRST LEGO League. While FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams conduct research projects and design autonomous robots specifically to carry out missions relating to the topic, FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams conduct much smaller projects and makes models out of LEGO elements to illustrate one part of the theme.[1] They may also use LEGO WeDo, a programmable robotics kit, as part of their models.

Currently, the program is available in Belgium, Canada, Israel, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and United States.[2]

History[edit]

FIRST LEGO League Jr. League started out as a pilot program in 2004 to encourage young children to have interest in science and engineering. In the first pilot year, the teams were provided with some specific LEGO parts by FIRST, but that idea was dropped in later years. Teams now use any LEGO elements that they have to build the models. The pilot years were done in three phases from 2004 to 2006. The program was officially launched in 2007 during the Power Puzzle season.

During the first five years, the program was not referred as a robotic program. The only requirements to build models out of LEGO elements were to have some moving parts and include at least one simple machine based on a given topic of that year. FIRST has provided an option to purchase a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Base Kit that contains many LEGO elements including gears, motor, and other TECHNIC elements. In 2009, with the new robotics kit by LEGO Group, the program included LEGO WeDo as an optional kit[3] which allows children to connect a motor and/or a sensor to other LEGO bricks, gears and other TECHNIC elements. It also has drag-and-drop programming interface for children to write robotics programs.[4]

The number of participants has been increasing each year.[5] However, the program was limited to the United States and Canada until 2009.

Program details[edit]

FIRST LEGO League Jr. is designed to be a non-competitive and community-based program. The teams are formed within local community and participate in local events. FIRST provides guidelines to help coaches to run their teams and local organizers to run FIRST LEGO League Jr. events. However, FIRST does not organize any FIRST LEGO League Jr. event, unlike other FIRST programs.

The program is designed to be flexible; there are no specific dates for the program. Each team may decide when to start the activities and for how long as long as the registration is done within the season calendar which is from August to June each year.[6] A team consists of 2-6 team members. There is an age limit that team members must not be older than 9 as of January 1 of the year the Challenge is released. Although there is no lower bound on age, FIRST suggests that the program is intended for children 6 or older.

After registering a team, the coach guides students to do research by following the Challenge guideline. The team may have a field trip or visit experts to help children to learn more about the topic. Children will then work on their "Show Me" poster and LEGO models to demonstrate their findings according to the instructions in the Challenge. The team may choose to use any LEGO parts that they have at home to construct their models. Optionally, the team may purchase FIRST LEGO League Jr. Base Kit or LEGO WeDo Kit to use.[7][8]

Challenges[edit]

The FIRST LEGO League Jr. challenges align with the research project portion of FIRST LEGO League ..[9][5]

Year Theme Number of Participants Number of Teams Number of Events Notes
2004 No Limits (Disabilities) 375+ 125 9 The first pilot year. The challenge was to find ways to improve access for people with different physical abilities.
2005 Ocean Odyssey 981+ 327 27 The second pilot year. The topic was related to learning about habitat of marine life
2006 Nano Quest 2,400+ 700+ 30 The third pilot year. The challenge provided an opportunity for children to learn about the scale of nanometer.
2007 Power Puzzle 6,000+ 1,004 40+ Official launch. The challenge was on energy. Children needed to perform an energy audit and seek answers about the source of energy for everyday appliances.
2008 Climate Connections 7,000+ 1,180 44 Learn about tools used to study climate.
2009 Smart Move 1,500 Relaunched as a robotics program. The first year to expand globally. The topic is about Transportation.[10]
2010 Body Forward Biomedical Engineering[11]
2011 Snack Attack 12,000 (est.) Food safety[12]
2012 Super Seniors Improve the quality of life for seniors[13]
2013 Disaster Blaster Help master natural disasters[14]
2014 Think Tank There's always something new to learn[15]
2015 Waste Wise Prepare to become Waste Wise![16]

Events[edit]

Concept[edit]

The program encourages teams to go out and tell their story to others after they have completed the poster and the models. They may participate in one of the well-established FIRST LEGO League Jr. events, which are typically part of FIRST LEGO League tournaments run by independent FIRST LEGO League partners. Most of these events are called ''FIRST LEGO League Jr.' Expos'.[17] Alternately, they may host their own event in the neighborhood or at school to showcase their accomplishment.

At the FIRST LEGO League Jr. event, there will be "Reviewers" (the judges) to ask children some questions about what they have learned. They may be asked details about the project and the models that they built. The FIRST LEGO League Jr.concept is that everyone is a winner, therefore, the event organizers are recommended to give an award to each team that participates in the event.

Awards[edit]

The organizers can create any list of awards. Below is the list of awards suggested by FIRST:[3]

  • Amazing Movement Award
  • Gracious Professionalism Award
  • Against All Odds Award
  • Effort and Learning Award
  • Complexity and Decoration Award
  • Most Explosive Award
  • Robust Design Award
  • Construction Innovation Award
  • Team Spirit Award
  • Teamwork Award
  • Inquiring Minds

Notable events[edit]

Since the inception of the program, FIRST LEGO League Jr. events have been held by local organizers or official FIRST LEGO League partners in the participating countries, but not by FIRST organization.[18] Recently,[when?] FIRST has held an annual event called 'FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Festival Expo' each year in St. Louis, Missouri as part of the FIRST Championship, but the program is still relies on almost one hundred events of local organizers throughout the year.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  2. ^ Junior FIRST LEGO League - accessed March 24, 2012
  3. ^ a b Junior FIRST LEGO League Event Guide, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  4. ^ WeDo Concept, LEGO Education - accessed December 23, 3009
  5. ^ a b Impact, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  6. ^ 2009 Jr.FLL Smart Move Season Schedule, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  7. ^ Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) Coaches’ Guide - accessed December 23, 2009
  8. ^ Products and Pricing, FIRST - accessed December 31, 2009
  9. ^ Junior FIRST LEGO League - Challenge History, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  10. ^ Smart Move, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  11. ^ 2010 CHALLENGE OVERVIEW, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  12. ^ Snack Attack Logo and Teaser, FIRST - accessed November 29, 2010
  13. ^ 2012 Super Seniors Challenge, FIRST - accessed June 4, 2012
  14. ^ [1], FIRST - accessed August 19, 2013
  15. ^ [2], FIRST - accessed January 2, 2015
  16. ^ [3], FIRST - accessed February 8, 2015
  17. ^ What Events And Teams Are In My Area?, FIRST - accessed December 23, 2009
  18. ^ Event Guide, FIRST - accessed March 24, 2012
  19. ^ What Events And Teams Are In My Area?, FIRST - accessed March 24, 2012

External links[edit]