for tomorrow

NMMU News

10/04/2015

Schools in Nelson Mandela Bay will soon be exposed to the fun and excitement of science and technology when the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University School of ICT introduce the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®).

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) was created through a partnership between US-based organisation FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), led by inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen, and the LEGO Group. 

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) introduces young people, aged 9 to 16 (grades 4-10), to the fun and excitement of science and technology.

According to the organisers Lego helps with building self-confidence, knowledge and valuable career and life skills. FLL challenges children to think like scientists and engineers. Alongside adult coaches, FLL teams solve problems using research, engineering concepts, presentation techniques and robots.

The University’s School of ICT plans to visit 20 schools this month and next to create awareness of First Lego League and get interested children to form teams.

Jean Phillips of Clarendon Park Primary, who is already part of the league says, “The motto ‘it is the hardest fun you will ever have’, is so true. They all had such a wonderful experience. They can’t wait for the next season off FLL to start.”

Syndie Williams of Theodor Herzl concurs. She says there is plenty support and enthusiasm.

Natasha Saunders of Eagles Home School, the regional champions for 2013 and 2014, says, “It is as though someone has taught me a skill as vital as breathing.  I have seen the life value for myself, the children and the future of the country”.

The teams – from two to a maximum of ten members – learn valuable skills while researching challenges facing today’s scientists.  In this year’s FLL TRASH TREK™ challenge learners will explore the world of trash – from collection, to sorting, to smart production and reuse.  The project requires learners to engage with their community and find solutions to the refuse problems they face. 

In addition to the research project, teams will design, build, and programme autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology to complete missions on a thematic playing field.  Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism®.

The FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) tournament takes place on 24 October 2015 at the NMMU Indoor Sport Centre. Throughout the year, the NMMU School of ICT will also provide free training workshops for the teams at NMMU North Campus. The first workshops, completed over two days, will take place during the June/July holidays.  This will be followed by a half-day workshop when the FLL challenge is released in late August.  Once the challenge is released, teams will have eight weeks to prepare for the competition where they showcase their work and compete for awards.