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Body Forward theme announced at FIRST LEGO® League 2010 launch
The Body Forward theme of this year's FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) 2010 was announced at the East Kent competition launch event held in the School of Computing at Kent. The FLL is an annual event which engages school children in science through themed activities including a robot challenge and practical project work. The competition will encourage students to explore the world of biomedical engineering to help people live happier and healthier lives. Eighteen schools from across Kent are already taking part in the competition and teachers attended the launch to find out about the challenges ahead.
The Body Forward robot challenge requires the teams to programme a sensor equipped vehicle (a robot built using a LEGO® Mindstorm programmable controller) to perform a set of missions in a test environment. The test environment consists of a large table containing models built from LEGO®, such as a syringe and blood cells, which are placed on a mat which has several marked zones representing, for example, a human body, a brain and a hospital. The missions correspond to medical activities such as applying a cast to a fractured arm, separating white cells from red cells using a syringe, identifying and destroying 'bad' cells, and placing a cardiac patch into a heart.
LEGO® Mindstorms are particularly suited to educational activities because they incorporate sensors and a programmable brick (a computer) which means that they can detect things in their environment and can be controlled to respond in different ways.
The Body Forward project encourages research into the cutting-edge world of Biomedical Engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome illness and disabilities, and build healthier and stronger bodies. The research involves learning how scientists, engineers and doctors work together. Teams should consider a variety of medical issues which people face, identify a particular problem, devise a solution, and present their findings to a panel of judges in a creative way.
Teams from across Kent will spend the next couple of months preparing for the regional finals held which will be held at the University: East Kent regional final on Wednesday 24th November at the Canterbury campus; West Kent regional final on Thursday 25th November at the Medway campus. The winning team will go forward to the UK final at Loughborough on 22 January 2010. The world grand final will be held in Hawaii in April 2011.
Local event co-ordinator, Jane Anderson, welcomed teachers, staff and student ambassadors to the launch and offered help in the form of mentors, who would go out to schools to support the teachers and provide technical expertise. Additional teacher support sessions will be held at the university's Medway campus on Wednesday 20th October. Jane said:
" Of all the outreach work that I am involved in there is nothing so exciting and enjoyable as First LEGO® League. It certainly achieves it's aims of engaging young people in STEM activities. My colleagues who work with me on this all have a fantastic rewarding time. I can't wait for the Regional Finals in November.
This is the seventh time the FLL annual regional event has been held at the University of Kent.
Involvement in the FLL competition enables registered students to obtain a silver CREST Award from the British Science Association. This is Britain's largest award for project work in the STEM subjects for 11-19 year olds and this is the first year that this award is achievable through LEGO® League.
Last year's event sponsors are kindly supporting the event again this year. The sponsors are the BCS (British Computing Society) and MEBP (Medway Business Partnership).
This year's FLL launch was held at the School of Computing on Wednesday 22 September 2010.
Schools can still enter teams into the competition - registration is open until the end of September. Schools currently registered:
Published 24 September 2010