How can I walk my dog on the Moon? What happens if I sneeze in space? Just some of the questions that more than 500,000 children around the world will be asking and attempting to answer over the next months, as part of this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition, a global STEM program with an annual theme that inspires and challenges young engineers and scientists.
In Europe, the European Space Agency (ESA) has teamed up with LEGO Education to provide inspiration, examples and expertise to the teams of children aged 6 to 16 who are competing for a place in the World Finals in Houston, Texas and Detroit, Michigan in the USA. To provide an additional incentive, on August 1, ESA astronaut and Space Station commander Alexander Gerst sent a message from orbit, together with a very helpful LEGO colleague. You can watch the video here:
The competition is divided into two categories: FIRST LEGO League Jr. for students age 6 to 9 and a season challenge named MISSION MOON℠, and FIRST LEGO League for students age 9 to 16 with a season challenge named INTO ORBIT℠. Teams usually have between five to 10 team members, and the participants will have to develop and apply their science and engineering skills, as well as build on their communication and team work abilities, to succeed. The children build and program autonomous robots using LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® to participate. The FIRST LEGO League “Robot Game” takes place on a Space-themed playing field that ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen helped develop as one of the advisory team members.
Reach out to the FIRST LEGO League organizers in your country here.