This week my son competes in Clearwater, FL, with his Cayman Prep & High School team, the Cyber Rays. They did this last year, going all the way to the Florida State Championships and gaining an invite to the Florida World’s. The journey starts again this week and they are joined by a rookie team from their school, the Techno Turtles. I’m going to share with you what I found out is the biggest myth of First Lego League robotics!
Now. How could something founded by Dean Kamen (of Segway fame) and tied to LEGO, the worlds favourite toy (and I use that term loosely), be based on a myth?
I’ll let you in on the secret…
IT IS NOT ABOUT THE ROBOTS!
Sure, the robots are the hook (the myth). But after doing this for a year I can tell you it is so much more than the hook of the robots that initially gets so many kids involved.
It is about important life skills such as teamwork, cooperation, research, discussion, friendships, overcoming challenges, maintaining energy levels, and the list goes on.
For months the kids prepare their robot from mere loose parts to compete in the mission field. It is the same mission list that over 17,000 teams around the world are doing. They work also on a project, this year on issues surrounding an aging population. Talk about 10-14 year old kids getting outside their comfort zone. And they work on Gracious Professionalism.
It is not all about winning.
It is about how you play the game.
Along the way the kids (and parents) meet some pretty awesome people from all over the world and from every walk of life. The stories of how some teams got to just a qualifier tournament are inspiring. The generosity of strangers is overwhelming.
Our team was lucky enough last year to meet the Mustache Motors, a team from Clearwater, FL, in the very first tournament a year ago. These kids and their parents have become great friends, and have helped our team immeasurably and selflessly. Last year after the tournaments were over the entire team and parents visited us in the Cayman Islands and participated in a demo at the Cyber Rays school.
I can think of no better organization for your school or club to be involved in.
You see, its not about the robot!
Have you heard of First Lego League before or are you involved now? I would love to get comments back from you on your view of the programme and its impact on kids to encourage them in the sciences (and life). Take a moment to write.