Last year I discovered the FIRST Lego League. FIRST is the robotics competition started by Dean Kamen, inventer of the Segway, to offer regional and national events that promote engineering and science. I had seen TV specials on FIRST in the past, but only last Winter did I discover the FLL and Jr FLL.
The FIRST Lego League is geared towards younger kids to get them more interested in engineering, science, and robotics using Legos. This year I decided to try forming our own team with boys in the Jr league which is for 6-9 year olds. Each year the Jr. FLL presents a challenge and the teams use Legos to create a solution. You can then bring your team and creation to a regional event where the kids can show off what they made and checkout the others.
The older levels treat these events as a competion, culminating in the huge national event. At the Jr level the competition portion is left out.
Registration this year has been up and FLL just announced that they will be accepting no more US teams after October 1st. If you're interested, signup on their site ASAP. Registration is $25 and the basic kit (optional) provides a great selection of Lego pieces and a motor for $130.
I will post updates on our progress with this years challenge and pictures of what the kids create. This years challenge is Body Forward:
Through the 2010 Body Forward™ Challenge, FLL teams will explore the cutting-edge world of Biomedical Engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.