FIRST LEGO League launches announce 2018/19 season challenges from space

In this year’s FIRST LEGO League challenge, 400,000 children will be asked to reach for the stars.

Since 1998, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the LEGO Group have teamed up to present FIRST LEGO League. This year, the missions for the regular competition and First LEGO League Jnr will be themed around space, and registration is open.

“Each year, FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League design real-world challenges that fuel children’s natural curiosity and appetite for discovery,” said Kim Wierman, director of the competitions at FIRST. “The concepts they are already learning in school are reinforced in fun and playful applications. Space is a topic that sparks curiosity among students of all ages, and over the course of the season, our students will learn the value of teamwork and collaboration that is so essential to modern space travel.”

To devise the challenges, a Challenge Advisory Team was consulted, comprised of experts from European Space Agency, NASA, Buzz Aldrin Space Institute, International Planetarium Society and U.S. Geological Survey, among others. These representatives were used to help ensure the challenges would take into account the genuine physical and social problems associated with long-duration space flight.

Alexander Gurst has even sent a message from the International Space Station, wishing the participants good luck:

Here are the official details on the FIRST LEGO League Jnr challenge:

The 2018-2019 MISSION MOON Challenge will reach over 85,000 children, ages 6-10, from 55 countries and help them learn about the Earth’s moon and what is needed to live there.

“Space is exciting because it’s the last frontier that we haven’t explored totally,” said Patrick McQuillan, of the International Planetarium Society, who served as a consultant on the development of the challenge. “In order to explore space, technology has to be developed that doesn’t exist. So that inspires engineers to develop those things to get us to the moon or to Mars to try to live there.”

Each year since 2004, FIRST LEGO League Jr. presents a new and exciting challenge to ignite creativity in young children. This year, while exploring the real-world theme of space, teams will use LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 to build and program a model that moves, learning basic engineering and programming concepts. They will also illustrate their research through a Show Me Poster. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the signature set of FIRST Core Values, which emphasize discovery, inclusion, innovation and fun.

As part of the annual registration fee, teams receive an exclusive LEGO Education Inspire Set containing 700+ LEGO bricks and elements teams can use to construct their team model. In this set will also be a yearly model – a rocket for this season – that serves as a starting point for teams.

Here are the official details on the FIRST LEGO League challenge:

In the 2018-2019 INTO ORBITS Challenge, roughly 320,000 children, ages 9 to 16*, from nearly 100 countries will explore how to solve the physical and social problems associated with long-duration space flight, and propose solutions for any issues they identify.

“The universe is almost infinitely large. There are so many possibilities, opportunities, and exciting discoveries waiting for us in the future,” said Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who was among the experts FIRST and LEGO Education consulted in developing the challenges. “And that, to me, is what space exploration is all about: opening the door and seeing what’s on the other side.”

FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the INTO ORBIT season, teams of up to 10 students will choose and solve a real-world problem in an open-ended project. Teams will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a series of space-themed missions as part of the Robot Game, which include: growing food in space; fighting muscle atrophy in orbit; collecting samples; and more. The exclusive LEGO models that line the field were inspired by the stories and experiences of STEM professionals who represent the many fields and roles needed to send humans to space. Throughout the season, teams will operate under the signature set of FIRST Core Values, celebrating discovery, innovation, inclusion and fun.

*ages vary by country

40,000 teams are expected to compete in FIRST LEGO League for the 2018/19 season. Two FIRST LEGO League World Festivals, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship, April 17-20, 2019, in Houston, and April 24-27, 2019, in Detroit.

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