from Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
This year’s FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) tournament at UNCA is a qualifying event, and the teams that score the best across all areas of competition will progress to regional competitions and then on to state-wide competitions. The competition is free and open to the public.
Each year, FLL identifies a real-world problem that today’s scientists and engineers are trying to solve. For 2012 the theme is Senior Solutions, and encourages kids to think about the issues facing their grandparents, and all of the seniors who call Western North Carolina home. Teams were challenged to identify a Senior Partner and to investigate the challenges their partner faces in terms of living “Independent, Connected, Engaged.” Teams design, build and program an autonomous robot using LEGO© MINDSTORMS© NXT to compete in a robot game based on the theme. They also research solutions to the specific challenge they choose and design an innovative solution. Teams are challenged to present their research findings and solutions publicly prior to the tournament and to engage mentors from the community to help them throughout the season. Teams operate under FLL’s Core Values, including Gracious Professionalism®, Coopertition® and having fun!
This year kids from across the region have become involved with teams through schools, through 4-H, through Girl Scouts and through groups of neighbors and friend who believe that getting hands on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education programs in the hands of future generations is a worthy goal. Mentors and presenters from the local community have stepped up as well. Mission Hospital, Simply Home, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, Mountain Adaptive, Care Partners, the Buncombe-County Extension, the Health Adventure and other local companies and organizations have supported the teams along the way.