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21 January 2010 | PR 10/07

FIRST® LEGO® League inspires thousands of children into Science and Engineering with the Smart Move Robotics Challenge

FIRST® LEGO® League inspires thousands of children into Science and Engineering with the Smart Move Robotics Challenge
On Saturday 23rd January 2010, Loughborough University hosts the UK and Ireland final of the FIRST LEGO® League (FLL).

This year approximately 5,000 children aged nine to 16 participated throughout the UK and Ireland in the ultimate science, technology, engineering and research challenge.  The top 25 teams from around the country have qualified from their regional events to compete for the title of UK and Ireland National Champions, and the opportunity to participate in the World Festival in America against 45 other national champions from across the globe.

Two teams from Leicestershire – from Newbold Verdon and Mountfields Lodge Primary Schools – qualified and will be competing in the national final.

Around the world more than 110,000 children took part in the annual FIRST LEGO® League Challenge.  This year, they were asked to investigate how transportation affects their community and then generate ideas that could lead to practical solutions.

Teams of up to 10 children had 10 busy weeks in which to design, build and programme a fully autonomous robot, using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology, to complete the SMART MOVE missions on a large playing table – including gaining access to places, avoiding and surviving impacts, and accessing and recovering items.

Teams also undertook a stimulating research project, which required them to investigate how a transport problem affects their own community and then create an innovative solution that they could share.  The challenge culminated in a series of high-energy regional tournaments.

Now 25 regional winning teams from primary and secondary schools will participate in an exciting national final at Loughborough University on 23rd January.  Three of the winning teams from this final will then go forward to international events in America and Turkey.

The FIRST LEGO League is supported by some big company names including Ford, Microsoft, RM Education and Rapid Electronics, as a way to encourage children to consider a career in technology and engineering. 

Simon Davenport, FLL Programme Manager in the UK and Ireland said: “FIRST LEGO League provides inspiration to young people to follow a career path in science and engineering.  It offers real world scenarios that can be implemented and teaches key life skills that are a vital part of any workplace”


For all media enquiries contact:

Simon Davenport
FLL Programme Manager (UK & Ireland)
T: 07970 002426
E: sdavenport@firsthandtechnology.org.uk

Judy Wing
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T : 01509 228697
E: J.L.Wing@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1.  FLL is the result of an alliance between FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the    LEGO Company, aimed at exciting children about the possibilities of engineering and technology. Guided by adult mentors and their own imaginations, FLL students solve real-world technology challenges, develop important life skills, and learn to make positive contributions to society.  Piloted in 1998, there are now more than 45 countries and over 110,000 children participating in the FLL and it is a truly global event.  In the UK and Ireland, FLL is organised by First Hand Technology, a ‘not for profit’ organisation.

2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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