Inventor Dean Kamen Asks 230,000 Children Worldwide to Devise Innovative Solutions to Keep People and Property Safe Before, During, and After a Natural Disaster
In the 2013 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) season, children from around the world are tackling an ambitious challenge: to research natural disasters and propose solutions for what can be done when intense natural events meet the places where people work, play, and live. The largest FLL season to date will include 230,000 children, ages 9-16, in more than 80 countries. "According to the United Nations, natural disasters have affected nearly 3 billion people worldwide and caused nearly $2 trillion USD in damage since 2000,' said President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation and FIRST Founder, Dean Kamen. "Coming up with their own ideas to prepare for, stay safe during, and rebuild after natural disasters empowers kids to make a difference and to feel ready if they learn about or face a natural disaster in the future.'
This year's FLL "NATURE'S FURYSM' Challenge calls for teams of 9- to 14-year-old children (9 to 16 outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) to research and present their own creative solutions to one of today's most relevant topics: natural disasters. Teams will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT to solve a set of natural disaster missions, such as positioning an evacuation sign, clearing an airplane's runway of debris, and delivering supplies. The cornerstones of the experience are the FLL Core Values, which emphasize contributions of others, friendly competition, learning, and community involvement.
Each year in late summer, the FIRST LEGO League releases a themed, three-part Challenge based on a real-world scientific topic applied through a 'Robot Game,' a 'Project,' and a signature set of FIRST LEGO League 'Core Values,' which are the overarching way in which the Challenge is completed. Teams of up to 10 children, with one adult Coach, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project). Past Challenges have been based on topics such as biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for handicapped and senior populations, and transportation.
"FIRST LEGO League provides a fun and engaging experience for children around the world to become innovators and creative problem solvers on a very relevant and real topic,' said Jacob Kragh, President, LEGO Education. "Using a real-world issue to drive a process where children are in control empowers them with a chance to take what they learn and apply it to their own lives, not only during this challenge, but also to their future adventures and endeavors.'