Making space for FIRST® LEGO® League FIRST LEGO League makes an exciting and enjoyable way to engage your class with a range of curriculum areas. Many teachers integrate it with a specific subject, normally science, maths or language. Others will use it as a cross-curricular project. How you choose to employ it is up to you. You will find some suggestions below.
Teams can have up to 10 members. To give each member the best learning experience, you can register more teams or set up FLL® as an optional class. Feedback from teachers indicates that both of these work well. It can also be planned as an after-school activity or as a school-parent project.
Try allowing everyone to work together in the initial phases of the Project and the Robot Design task. Then hold a ‘job fair’ and get each student to apply for the job they want to do. This way, you can select the strongest team, the one that gives the most inspiration to certain children or a combination of the two.
Cooperation is integral to FIRST LEGO League. If a team is split into smaller work groups, make sure there are regular status meetings. This is also a useful way for the smaller groups to get comments and suggestions from other members of the class.
One of the more effective ways of using FLL is to encourage girls to apply for the robot-related tasks. They tend to choose project-related tasks unless they are encouraged in another direction.
ACTING AS FACILITATOR
Create the conditions for the students to tackle the Challenge by acting as a facilitator. Set the stage, manage the process, and encourage the students to reflect on their work. Here are some suggestions for how this may work:
- Setting the stage – set out the rules for co-operation in the team(s) and keep the students motivated.
- Managing the process – gently keep the team moving forward, resolve any conflicts and, most importantly, make sure that all the students are involved during the process and that all students’ contributions are equally valued.
- Encouraging reflection – ask questions, but do not provide answers to encourage students to come up with their own solutions. Your questions should be explorative, challenging and motivating.
Working with FIRST LEGO League gives students a chance to cooperate, to get some qualifications and to transform theory into practice. The concept offers many different tasks ranging from presentations to programming that draw on many different competences.
Teams will have 8 to 10 weeks between the release of the Challenge online and the first regional tournaments. Here are some ways that you can schedule work on FIRST® LEGO® League:
- Spend one full week and then a couple of lessons a week for the remainder of the time
- Spend one or two lessons a week for the duration of the whole project
- Use two solid weeks to work on the programme
- Spend one or two afternoon(s) a week during the project period.
Surveys suggest that teams spend five to six hours a week working on the project. Be aware that new teams or teams with younger members may need more time while older or more experienced teams may need less. Teams often enjoy the task so much that they may spontaneously spend breaks between lessons or time outside school working on the programme.