University News


Published: December 01, 2018 | Categories: All News

Dozens of teams to compete Saturday, December 8.

First Lego League competition logo.

Elementary and middle school students from more than 24 Massachusetts communities will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after months of planning and preparation in the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League Competition ( Saturday, December 8 at Western New England University. A total of 36 teams of students and their engineering and technical mentors will demonstrate their skill for science, mathematics, and technology while competing for an opportunity to advance to the Massachusetts FLL State Championship.

Over an eight- to twelve-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a kit of parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in local and state competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students. More than 300 students will compete at the Agawam Qualifier at Western New England University’s Alumni Healthful Living Center to earn a spot at the Championship December 15 in Worcester.

With the 2018 “Into Orbit Challenge,” FIRST® Lego League gives teams complete freedom on how to complete the missions, providing that they are completed by a programmed LEGO Mindstorms robot with no outside assistance. The robot has two and a half minutes to complete the missions. Each team has a minimum build period of eight weeks to analyze the challenge mat, design and build a LEGO Mindstorms robot, and program it to fulfill the given missions in any manner they see fit. The robot must be autonomous, and may contain only one LEGO Mindstorms programmable block and no more than four motors.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the IBOT Mobility System and the Segway® Human Transporter (HT), FIRST® was created to inspire an appreciation of science, and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. Now in its 20th season, the FIRST® Lego League Competition anticipates more than 35,000 teams in the U.S. and in countries worldwide to compete in local and state tournaments.

FIRST isn’t about competing, it’s about cooperating, and recognizing that if you have the right tools, you’ll be able to make this world a better place for yourself and for the country,” said Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research and Development and FIRST Founder, adding, “There is no stimulus package that will have as much return as stimulating a bunch of kids to become the workforce of the future, the problem solvers, the creators of the future.

Western New England University is hosting the FLL Challenge as part of the University’s FIRST® Robotics initiative. The partnership includes serving as a host site for regional qualifying events for various events open to students from elementary school to high school along with mentorship of regional and international teams. Western New England University is also launching a new FIRST scholarship beginning in Fall 2019. Every accepted incoming student who includes proof of high school participation in FIRST Robotics on his or her application will automatically be awarded a $1,000 scholarship.