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'Out of this world' STEM challenge from LEGO and FIRST

The latest FIRSTLEGO and FIRSTLEGO Jr. challenges have a space theme, and are set to teach children about programming and engineering

Posted by Charley Rogers | May 04, 2018 | Events

Designed to foster 21st century life skills and spark children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), the FIRST LEGO League encourages primary and secondary school pupils to explore subjects and develop innovative problem-solving skills so that they are able to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.

The concept of the League and its core values, which celebrate teamwork, discovery and fun,remain the same, but each year there is a different overarching theme. The 2018-19 theme is space, MISSION MOON℠ (FIRSTLEGO League Jr.) and INTO ORBIT℠ (FIRSTLEGO League). The activities will help pupils to build curiosity around space exploration and scientific discovery.  

Both programmes provide a playful, meaningful learning environment that gets pupils working as a team, delegating responsibilities and overcoming obstacles, all while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology. 

How it works

Pupils are tasked with completing a space challenge designed in partnership with astronauts, astronomers, rocket engineers and space experts; they will then use a variety of LEGO Education resources to complete the activities. 

For younger pupils (aged six to 10), the project captures their curiosity and gets them discovering the wonders of science and technology. Each activity encompasses real-world scientific concepts that children explore through research, teamwork, construction and imagination. Teachers take on an advisory role, encouraging them to think about different solutions to the open-ended activities and children then use LEGO Education resources to build and program a moving model. In addition to this, they have to create a poster to illustrate their journey; helping to develop confidence, communication and presentation skills.

For pupils aged nine to 16, the FIRSTLEGO League provides a deeper, more immersive experience involving real-world science and technology challenges that teach them the engineering design process. In a world where technology and digital innovation is ever-evolving, programmes like this help pupils to understand the purpose of computing, coding and robotics, allows them to see how it relates to the industry and how it can be applied in practice. Teams must design their own solutions to the proposed scientific challenges and build and code autonomous robots to perform a series of missions based in space. 

Why get involved?

The benefits for teachers and pupils to get involved in extra-curricular activities such as these include children not only improving their computing skills but developing valuable life skills and discovering exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society. 

Joslyn Adcock, Senior Marketing Manager at LEGO Education said: “It’s important to give children the flexibility and freedom to unlock their potential and learn how to work as a team, accept feedback, resolve conflicts of opinion and designs, present information and more importantly persevere when things don’t go right the first time around. All of these elements are vital in a 21stcentury working environment. Understanding how to deal with things appropriately from a young age will aid a smoother transition into whatever career path they decide to pursue.”

“According to many studies, 80% of jobs in the next decade will require STEM, programming and robotics skills. Therefore, schools need to be providing hands-on, practical experience for pupils in order to engage them in STEM subjects and help them see the career opportunities that industries present. Both programmes give children exposure into real space and STEM concepts, while making it a fun experience, helping to grow their awareness of the sector and the associated skills needed for the future.”

To learn more FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League, and details of how to register and get involved, visit www.firstinspires.org

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