FIRST LEGO League
Starting in 1998, FIRST decided to venture into a new horizon in robotics competitions - the elementary and middle school level. Originally using the LEGO Mindstorms kits and now the LEGO NXT kits, the FIRST LEGO League employs a science themed-challenge and a specialized research topic to introduce students ages 9-14 to the world of science and technology. Having grown exponentially over the past eight years, the FIRST LEGO League is now in an international competition of more than 135,000 students in 45 countries.
Team 228 and the FIRST LEGO League
The FIRST LEGO League is as much a part of FIRST as actually building FRC or FTC robots. To mentor younger children - not only on how to build good LEGO robot or with assitsting them with their research project - but also teamwork, cooperation, and problem solving is the core of the FIRST organization. The FIRST LEGO League can have a significant impact on students' lives, and Team 228 is proud to support Meriden FLL teams.
Already we have created on average at least 6 annual teams in our hometown, including two at Lincoln Middle School, and two rookie teams at the science and technology Edison Magnet Middle School. There are at least two teams annually at the elementary school level as well. Every fall, students from Team 228 mentor any of the Meriden FLL Teams that seek assistence. Two of the adult mentors in Gus Robotics have also been, or currently are, FLL team coaches.
As more time goes on, FLL students are making their way into high school and onto the team. We currently have several FLL alumni on our team; in the past we have had eighth graders that were so impressed by Gus that they attended our meetings and participated in Team 228, even though they aren't even in high school yet. For most of these students, robotics is the FIRST team/club they join when they arrive in high school.
Local FLL Teams
Here is a list of all the of the schools in which Team 228 has either directly mentored or helped form FIRST LEGO League teams:
- Lincoln Middle School (Meriden, CT)
- Thomas Edison Magnet Middle School (Meriden, CT)
- Nathan Hale Elementary School (Meriden, CT)
- Moran Middle School (Wallinford, CT)
With the help of student and adult mentors from Gus Robotics, the two new rookie teams (in 2004) from Thomas Edison Middle School both did well in competition, with one of the teams winning an award for their research project. Both teams showed high interest in FIRST Lego League, with nearly all members wanting to start a Lego club in the spring because they couldn't wait for the next FLL Challenge.
FIRST was founded in 1989 by the renowned inventor Dean Kamen. The aim of FIRST is to inspire students to careers in math, science, and technology through a fun and engaging robotics competition, which provides students with the ability to meet one-on-one with industry leaders and engineers.
The initial FIRST Robotics Competition comprised of 28 teams competing in a New Hampshire high school gymnasium. The ensuing years brought rapid growth to the program, to include over 35,000 students, 2,000 teams from 11 countries, competing at over 50 District and Regional Events, culminating with the World Championship Event in St. Louis, Mo.