Science, technology, competition and teamwork collide this weekend with more than 75 teams of area students battling for top honors at the 2011 FIRST LEGO League tournament. This year’s tournament is hosted by Summit Lakes Middle School in Lee’s Summit and presented by Time Warner Cable.
“It’s difficult to appreciate the enthusiasm and spirit of the FIRST Lego League without experiencing it first hand,” said Anna Simmons, league director for the western Kansas and Missouri region. “The students, coaches and parents create an atmosphere of excitement and competition that encourages kids to discover science and technology in a whole new way.”
In FIRST LEGO League, students are assigned a challenge that encourages students to explore a real-world dilemma facing science and technology professionals. This year’s challenge is Body Forward, which focuses on biomedical engineering and innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and maximize the body’s potential to encourage happier and healthier lives. Teams use LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots to complete medical-themed missions and present a research report sharing the findings of their research.
Team awards are presented in categories for teamwork, programming, design, research, innovation and creativity. Teams also earn recognition for fulfilling the core values of FIRST including gracious professionalism and “coopertition,” which encourages teams to display unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.
“By studying robotics, kids peel back layers of the world around them and not only see how things work but how things are invented,” Simmons said. “The FIRST LEGO League Event challenges kids by giving them the opportunity to see that science, technology, engineering and math is more than just what they learn in the classroom. It’s also about solving real-world problems. Teachers, parents, and students are thrilled to mentor teams that are competing and help nurture the next generation of scientific leaders.”
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national partner with Connect a Million Minds, an initiative of Time Warner Cable. The company’s goal is to connect one million young minds to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through afterschool programs such as FIRST robotics.
“Our partnership with the FIRST LEGO League has been a tremendous opportunity to help young people discover the excitement and possibility of science and technology,” said Matt Derrick, spokesperson for Time Warner Cable. “FIRST LEGO League has been a great opportunity for our employees to volunteer their time and creativity and help connect young people to the value and excitement of STEM education.”
This year’s tournament takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Summit Lake’s Middle School in Lee’s Summit, Mo. For more information on the Western Missouri/Kansas Regional FIRST LEGO League celebration, visit www.kcfirst.org.
About Western Missouri/Kansas FLL Region
MoKan FIRST is supported by UMKC’s – School of Computing & Engineering to create and inspire youth to pursue studies and careers in science and technology and to help students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the technologically-driven global economy. Participation in FIRST has a positive impact on the lives of students, increasing college attendance, majors in science and engineering, participation in internships and co-ops, and involvement in community service.
About Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with technologically advanced, well-clustered systems. Time Warner Cable serves more than 14 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers a suite of phone, Internet, Ethernet and cable television services to businesses of all sizes. Time Warner Cable Media Sales, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions that are targeted and affordable. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at www.timewarnercable.com, www.twcbc.com and www.twcmediasales.com.